Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Disparities in Private Health Insurance Coverage of Skilled Care
Previous Article in Journal
Multiple Competences of Judicial and Social Intervention: Portuguese Public Prosecutors in Action
Previous Article in Special Issue
Reading Alexander V. Choate Rightly: Now is the Time
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

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

New York Law School, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013, USA
Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, 185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013, USA
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)
Full-Text   |   PDF [188 KB, uploaded 18 October 2017]


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).

Share & Cite This Article

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.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Laws EISSN 2075-471X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top