Responsibility and Control

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In two recent cases, Kansas v. Hendricks and Kansas v. Crane, the Supreme Court upheld sex predator legislation. The Kansas statute, which is similar to legislation adopted in other states, provides for the indefinite detention of those classified as sex predators. The detention is to begin after the offender has served a prison term and will continue for as long as he remains dangerous. One objection to the legislation had been that it permitted the detention of individuals who were considered legally sane and who were not being punished for any past crime (having paid the penalty for the crime that brought them to the law’s attention). Some thought that approving preventive detention in such cases was an abuse of traditionally recognized rights under the Constitution.

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