Nearly a decade ago, Virginia launched a program to keep sexual predators locked up once their prison sentences ended after learning that a serial child rapist who had kidnapped and brutalized a boy and then buried him alive might go free. State legislators are struggling with the escalating cost of the program that has kept hundreds of felons detained as the state faces growing needs in education, health care, and transportation, reports the Washington Post.
As of January, 252 sex offenders had been indefinitely committed, costing more than $100,000 per felon every year. That population is expected to more than double within five years, causing even the program’s biggest supporters to question whether the state can afford to keep so many sexual predators locked up for so long. “Are we being too aggressive in this?” asked Paul Martin Andrews, 51, whose harrowing experience as the young captive of Robert Ausley in 1973 led him to lobby the state to fund indefinite civil commitment for dangerous criminals. “It looks like someone is being overzealous or committing everyone they can.”