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Laws 2017, 6(4), 20; doi:10.3390/laws6040020

Sex, Sexuality, Sexual Offending and the Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities

1
New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013, USA
2
Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013, USA
3
Disability Rights New York, 25 Chapel Street, Suite 1005, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2017 / Revised: 3 October 2017 / Accepted: 6 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Care Law and the Rights of Individuals with Disabilities)
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Abstract

Although the legal issues related to sexual autonomy and sexual offending are significantly different, the resistance to providing adequate and effective counsel and the employment of the vividness heuristic (to privilege anecdote and reject valid and reliable research) is similar in both cases. The past forty years has seen an explosion of interest in mental disability law, and a significant expansion of rights for the population of persons with mental disabilities, both in institutions and the community, during which the society has witnessed a revolution in American mental disability law. It saw the first broad-based, federal civil rights statutes enacted on behalf of persons with mental disabilities. It witnessed the creation of a “patients’ bar” to provide legal representation to such persons. But this revolution largely bypassed persons seeking to argue for sexual autonomy and seeking to apply procedural and substantive due process to matters involving invocation of the sexually violent predator status. However, at the same time that all this happened, another parallel set of developments has had a profound application on mental disability law—on case law, statutes, administrative regulations and lawyers’ roles. The expansion of the school of legal analysis known as therapeutic jurisprudence has caused scholars to reconsider many of the basic principles of this area of law, and it is critical that any analysis of mental disability law take the insights of this area seriously. The question we address in this paper is this: although there has been a general “revolution” in mental disability law, there are those whom it has not affected. To what extent does the law that governs sexual autonomy and that governs matters involving alleged sexually violent predators comport with these therapeutic jurisprudence principles? This paper considers that question. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental disability law; sexual autonomy; patients’ rights; sexual offenders mental disability law; sexual autonomy; patients’ rights; sexual offenders
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Perlin, M.L.; Cucolo, H.E.; Lynch, A.J. Sex, Sexuality, Sexual Offending and the Rights of Persons with Mental Disabilities. Laws 2017, 6, 20.

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