The Civil Rights of Nobody's Friends

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“No person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution makes it clear — you can’t be punished for the same crime twice.

But across the country, some people are serving a kind of second sentence — being locked up after doing their time in jail. They are sex offenders. Diagnosed as recidivist predators, confined to prison-like treatment programs, and rarely released.

Some say this so-called civil commitment is a legal chimera, an unconstitutional hybrid that confuses criminal responsibility with mental disability. Others claim that sex offenders can be, and often are, both bad and mad, and that this kind of incarceration is the best way to protect communities. Civil commitment versus civil rights this hour on The Connection.


Stephen McAllister, Dean and Professor of Law, The University of Kansas, School of Law

Eric Janus Professor of Law, William Mitchell College of Law

Charles Manasco, resident of the Special Treatment Unit Department of Corrections center, Kearny, NJ

Dr. Timothy Foley, a forensic psychologist.