(1) That a small but extremely dangerous group of sexually violent offenders exist who do not have a mental disease or defect that renders them appropriate for involuntary hospitalization pursuant to chapter twenty-seven of this code, which is intended to be a short-term civil commitment system that is primarily designed to provide short-term treatment to individuals with serious mental disorders and then return them to the community. In contrast, these offenders, known as sexually violent predators, generally have personality disorders and/or mental abnormalities which are largely unamenable to existing mental illness treatment modalities and those conditions render them likely to engage in sexually violent behavior.
(2) That the likelihood of sexually violent predators engaging in repeat acts of predatory sexual violence is high. The existing involuntary commitment procedure is inadequate to address the risk to re-offend because during confinement these predators do not have access to potential victims and therefore they will not engage in an overt act during confinement as required by the involuntary treatment act for continued confinement.
(3) That the prognosis for curing sexually violent predators is poor, the treatment needs of this population are very long term, and the treatment modalities for this population are very different from the traditional treatment modalities for people appropriate for commitment under chapter twenty-seven of this code.
(4) It is therefore the purpose of this article to establish a public-private task force to identify and develop measures providing for the appropriate treatment of sexually violent predators lasting until they are no longer dangerous to the public. The measures should reflect the need to protect the public, to respect the needs of the victims of sexually violent offenses, and to encourage full, meaningful participation of sexually violent predators in treatment programs.
(1) The Commissioner of the Division of Corrections, or his or her designee;
(2) The Commissioner of the Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, or his or her designee;
(3) The Executive Director of the West Virginia Prosecuting Attorney's Institute, or his or her designee;
(4) The Executive Director of Public Defender Services, or his or her designee;
(5) The Director of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, or his or her designee;
(6) The President of the Sex Offender Registration Advisory Board, or his or her designee;
(7) The Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police, or his or her designee; and
(8) Four public members appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate as follows:
(i) A forensic psychiatrist with experience evaluating persons charged with sexually violent offenses;
(ii) A forensic psychologist with experience evaluating persons charged with sexually violent offenses;
(iii) A prosecuting attorney with experience prosecuting persons for sexually violent offenses; and
(iv) A public defender or private criminal defense attorney: Provided, That the person have experience defending persons charged with committing sexually violent offenses.
(b) The task force also may invite, as it deems necessary, other individuals with certain specialties to join the task force as members, including, but not limited to, probation officers and current or former members of the judiciary in West Virginia. The Commissioner of the Division of Corrections shall chair the task force.
(c) Each ex officio member of the task force is entitled to be reimbursed by their employing agency for actual and necessary expenses incurred for each day or portion thereof engaged in the discharge of official duties in a manner consistent with guidelines of the travel management office of the Department of Administration. All other expenses incurred by the task force shall be paid by the Division of Corrections.
(d) It shall be the duty of the task force to develop measures for the appropriate treatment of sexually violent predators, assess resources and circumstances specific to West Virginia, examine constitutional, statutory and regulatory requirements with which such measures must comply, identify the administrative and financial impact of those measures and develop a plan for implementation of the measures by a date certain. In fulfilling those duties, the task force, at a minimum, shall:
(1) Consult with psychiatrists and psychologists regarding the management of sexually violent predators, including, but not limited to, their diagnosis and treatment;
(2) Evaluate current involuntary commitment procedures set forth in chapter twenty-seven of this code and how they may interact with the state's management of sexually violent predators;
(3) Survey the mental health resources offered by state agencies, including, but not limited to, current treatment resources for sexually violent predators in all phases of the correctional, probation and parole systems;
(4) Assess what, if any, state resources exist for use in the confinement of sexually violent predators;
(5) Examine the interaction between criminal penalties for sexually violent offenses and the management of sexually violent predators;
(6) Consider other states' approaches to managing sexually violent offenders released after the completion of their criminal sentences;
(7) Conduct interviews with relevant personnel inside and outside of state government; and
(8) Determine the fiscal impact of any of its recommendations.
(b) In recognition of the importance of public engagement, the task force shall have two public hearings prior to the first day of March, two thousand seven, to solicit input from citizens, mental health professionals, local law-enforcement officials, other stakeholders, and interested parties about the state's management of sexually violent predators.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2014 1st Special Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.