The rehabilitative treatment of sexual offenders is both a moral and constitutional obligation that differentiates criminal incarceration from involuntary civil commitment. After all, if said offender was civilly committed and received no treatment, involuntary containment would be nothing more than an extension or second punishment for the same crime and would be a major violation of the offender’s constitutional rights to protection from Double Jeopardy. Thus, the differentiation between incarceration for correction/punishment and involuntary commitment for purposes of rehabilitative treatment is at the core of the laws protecting Civil Commitment of the sexually violent predator. “The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear, that adequate treatment is a fundamental prerequisite to any civil commitment program”(Smith, 2008).
Under Washington state law, “the constitutional right to adequate treatment must include individualized treatment with potential release upon successful completion of treatment; extensive mechanisms that protect the offender and public from potential oversight, and principals with govern judicial over sight. Said principals, ‘shape the contours of the states’ obligations in administering treatment programs that balance committed individuals’ constitutional rights with protecting the general public” (Smith, 2008).
The state of Washington provided a more in-depth requirement for treatment of sexually violent predators by clearly establishing what the programs of treatment must have in place to be constitutionally adequate and to increase the likelihood that offenders will, at some point, hope to be released upon successful treatment. In order to be constitutionally adequate, a treatment program must include individualized treatment, participation of family members in offender’s treatment, established procedures to fairly address offender grievances, and the implementation of a less restrictive alternation (L.R.A.). A less restrictive alternative or L.R.A. is, in essence, a form of a half way house for offender. It offers them greater freedom, while at the same time keeping the public protected from them while they complete treatment.
In Washington State, each offender/resident is entitled to a yearly psychological and forensic review of their treatment and progress with in the Civil Commitment Program. If the judge determines that the offender has made sufficient progress so that re-offending is unlikely, the judge will issue orders for L.R.A. release. “In most instances, when the court initially orders a L.R.A. release, the S.C.C. resident is transferred to a D.S.H.S operated Secure Community Transition Facility (Also on Mc. Neil Island). However, a select few have been authorized for release directly from the S.C.C to the S.C.T.F. in Seattle, King County. In addition, residents may eventually be granted a L.R.A. release from the S.C.T.F. to the community” (State of Washington Department of Corrections, 2011).