The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a state law allowing two sex offenders to be committed indefinitely to mental institutions after prison is constitutional, the Associated Press reports. The judges ruled 6-0 yesterday that two men were constitutionally committed and reaffirmed the law. A public defender argued that their commitments were punitive, meant lifetime confinement, and amounted to second punishments after they already served time in prison. However, the judges said that “this entire collection of arguments has been rejected in the past.”
The law at issue says that if prisoners have a “mental abnormality” making them act out in a sexually violent way, they should be evaluated before they leave prison. If a team of Department of Corrections and Department of Mental Health experts determine the prisoners still are dangerous, a judge can commit the offenders to a secure mental health facility after completion of their criminal sentences. People committed as sexually violent predators can’t leave the mental health facility until they are reviewed and deemed safe to be released. Missouri’s sexually violent predator law came under fire in recent years because nobody was being released from the state’s sex offender rehabilitation and treatment facilities.