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Hastings Law Journal

Authors

Dana Sherman

Abstract

“Civil detainees” under the Sexually Violent Predators Act include those persons who have already served their criminal sentences, but are still caged in prisons, awaiting court determination of whether or not they should be civilly committed to a state mental hospital. During this excruciatingly long waiting period, detainees endure conditions of confinement worse than they experienced when they were prisoners, and worse than they would experience if they were eventually to be committed to a state hospital. Does the disparate treatment while in legal limbo deprive these civil detainees of their statutory and constitutional rights? This Note examines relevant portions of the California Penal Code, the California Welfare and Institutions Code, and the United States Constitution, and argues that the confinement conditions for civil detainees unreasonably violate their statutory and constitutional rights.

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