Sexually Dangerous Persons Civil Commitment Law: Changing the Terms of or Ending Civil Commitment

The decision to transfer the person to a more or less secure treatment facility or to discharge a sexually dangerous person from civil commitment is made by a special review board panel appointed by the Commissioner of Human Services. The panel consists of three members who are experienced in the field of mental illness. One member must be a psychiatrist and one member must be an attorney. A patient may file a petition for transfer, discharge, or provisional discharge with the special review board panel after six months have elapsed since the person was first committed and may not file additional petitions with the board unless six months have elapsed since the last petition. A number of parties are entitled to be notified of and be present at the hearing on the petition, including the committing court and the county attorney of the committing county. Following the hearing and based on factors outlined in statute and evidence presented at the hearing, the panel makes written findings and recommendations on the petition and submits them to the Commissioner of Human Services.

The final decision on transfer or discharge rests with the commissioner. The order of the commissioner may be appealed to the Supreme Court Appeal Panel (SCAP). The SCAP must consider: (1) the person’s clinical progress and present treatment needs; (2) the need for security to accomplish continuing treatment; (3) the need for continued institutionalization; and (4) whether the transfer can be accomplished with a reasonable degree of public safety. Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subds. 4c and 5.

SCAP decisions can be appealed to the Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court.

CREDIT: The content of this and any related posts has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Sex Offenders and Predatory Offenders: Minnesota Criminal and Civil Regulatory Laws, written by Legislative Analyst Jeffrey Diebel.

This post is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota Criminal and Civil Regulatory Laws Regarding Sex Offenders and Predatory Offenders.