Sexual Psychopath Laws



Episode 4 examines the Sexual Psychopath laws. First enacted in the late 1930s, Sexual psychopath laws were essentially diversion-like, civil confinement strategies developed to deal with sex offenders. The taboo nature of sex crimes, and the depravity often associated with them, led many to perceive that the individuals who committed these acts suffered from some form of mental abnormality. Twenty-two states enacted sexual psychopath statutes and established programs. The psychiatric programs established under these statutes are today considered a dark moment in the history of psychiatry due to their inclusion of non-violent, non-contact offenders as well as the homosexual population. The last of these laws was repealed in the early 1980s, less than a decade prior to the enactment of the first sexually violent predator law.

References:

Bowman, K. M., & Engle, B. (1958). Certain aspects of sex psychopath laws. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 114(8), 690-697.

Cox, H. (1965). The secular city. NY: MacMillan.

Freedman, E. B. (1987). ‘Uncontrolled desires’: The response to the sexual psychopath, 1920 – 1960. The Journal of American History, 74(1), 83-106.

Glueck, S. (September, 1937). Sex crimes and the law. Nation, 318-320.

Guttmacher, M. S. (1951). Sex offenses: The problem, causes, and prevention. New York, NY: Norton.

Hoover, J. E. (July, 1947). How safe is your daughter? American Magazine, 32-33.

Jones, M., & Jones, E. (1999). Mass media. London: Macmillan Press.

Kamman, G. R. (1961). Evolution of sexual psychopath laws. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 6(2), 170-179.

Lefkowitz Horowitz, H. (2002). Rereading sex: Battles over sexual knowledge and suppression in nineteenth-century America. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

Lieberman, D., & Siegel, B. A. (1957). A program for sexual psychopaths in a state mental hospital. American Journal of Psychiatry, 113(9), 801-807.

Oliver, A. D. (1982). The sex offender: lessons from the California experience. International Journal of Law & Psychiatry, 5(3-4), 403-411.

Rice Lave, T. (2009). Only yesterday: The rise and fall of twentieth century sexual psychopath laws. Louisiana Law Review, 69(3), 549-591.

Sturgeon, V. H., & Taylor, J. (1980). Report of a five-year follow-up study of mentally disordered sex offenders released from Atascadero state hospital in 1973. Criminal Justice Journal, 4, 31-63.

Sutherland, E. H. (1950). The diffusion of sexual psychopath laws. The American Journal of Sociology, 56(2), 142-148.

Sutherland, E. H. (1950). The sexual psychopath laws. The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 40(5), 543-554.

Tappan, P. W. (1955). Some myths about the sex offender. Federal Probation, 19, 7-12.

Wittles, D. G. (December, 1948). What can we do about sex crimes? The Saturday Evening Post.

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