This article addresses civil commitment of sexually predatory offenders. It first outlines the most common American approaches to controlling sexual offenders, then details the German concept of Sicherungsverwahrung and greater state control, and finally proposes adopting a modified German approach that assures proportionality and public safety without sacrificing individual liberties. The article concludes by arguing that criminal penalties and safety-based detention should both be seen as elements of social control, which requires that safety measures with clearly punitive components be recognized as part of the punishment process.

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Criminal Law Commons