In 1998, the South Carolina General Assembly passed the Sexually Violent Predator Act ("SVP Act"), thus providing a legal mechanism to initiate civil commitment procedures against a limited number of dangerous adult sexual offenders. The SVP Act addresses legitimate public safety concerns while providing treatment for adult sexual offenders whom, due to a mental abnormality or personality disorder, are predisposed to likely engage in sexually violent behavior. The Legislature established guidelines that define sexually violent offenses and steps to evaluate the adult offenders whose persistent condition, if untreated, would lead them to likely engage in repeated acts of sexual violence. The Circuit Courts are responsible for determining whether an offender requires inpatient sex offender treatment. The administration of inpatient sex offender treatment is managed by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.
The Sexually Violent Predator Act is located in the South Carolina Code of Laws Annotated §§ 44-48-10 et seq. The SVP Act applies to 1) a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense; and 2) suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term control, care, and treatment. For more information, visit: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t44c048.php
The SVP commitment process begins at least 270 days prior to a convicted sex offender's release from incarceration in the South Carolina Department of Corrections, the South Carolina Department of Mental health, or the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice. If there is probable cause to believe the offender is a sexually violent predator, a judge may order a psychiatric evaluation of the offender to be completed by a court-appointed evaluator. Offenders committed under the Act are confined to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health's custody and receive treatment in a separate and secure facility for long-term control, care, and treatment.