What are the principles that guide this return to indeterminacy? Taken at face value, rehabilitation would seem to be the goal of the civil commitment provisions that make avail- able a treatment program to cure and reintegrate sexual offenders. Of course, rehabilitation was unequivocally rejected by determinate sentencing reformers, who considered it both discriminatory and ineffective.6 An alternative interpretation is that the sexual predator provisions lead in an incapacitative direction-that is, they are designed to predict which offenders are so dangerous that they must be more or less permanently institutionalized to protect the society. Either way, the sexual predator legislation amounts to a repudiation of desert based, determinate sentencing based on the principle that sentencing has to do with past rather than future crimes. How are we to account for this retreat from the principles of determinate sentencing? The retreat may be viewed as an isolated exception or as an indication of a shift in sentencing philosophies. Regardless of which approach best describes the retreat from determinate sentencing, our objective is to under- stand the criminological assumptions and political forces that drive the sexual predator legislation. This Article focuses on the political process and, in particular, on the role of victim advocacy. We also want to situate the sexual predator provisions criminologically-that is, to understand the criminological argument in favor of these provisions and to explore the societal implications of moving sentencing in this direction.
Stuart Scheingold, Toska Olson, and Jana Pershing, The Politics of Sexual Psychopathy: Washington State's Sexual Predator Legislation, 15 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 809 (1992).