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Sexually Violent Predators Civil Commitment Section

The Sexually Violent Predators Civil Commitment Section in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Division represents the Commonwealth in all matters arising out of the Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act, (“SVP Act”), Virginia Code § 37.2-900 et seq. The SVP Act allows the Office to petition a circuit court for the civil commitment of certain sexual offenders who have a mental abnormality or personality disorder and because of that mental health condition are likely to commit future sexually violent offenses.

The SVP Act applies to 1) prisoners in the Department of Corrections who are incarcerated for sexually violent offenses who are nearing their release date and 2) defendants who have been charged with sexually violent offenses and found unrestorably incompetent to stand trial by a court. The offenders are initially screened by the Department of Corrections. Based on certain statutory criteria, those offenders who are likely to reoffend are referred for a psychological evaluation and more intensive screening and review by an interagency committee. After that screening and review, the committee refers the cases to the Office of the Attorney General with certain recommendations.

Once the Office reviews the case, a petition for civil commitment may be filed with one of the circuit courts of the Commonwealth. After a trial on the petition, if an offender is found to be a sexually violent predator, then the circuit court decides whether to civilly commit the offender or conditionally release him to the community.

Offenders who are civilly committed are placed in a secure, intensive, inpatient sex offender treatment program at a facility run by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (“DBHDS”). If civilly committed, the offender is entitled to an annual review hearing every year for the first five years, and every two years thereafter. At each hearing, the court must decide whether the offender remains a sexually violent predator and if so, whether he remains in need of secure inpatient treatment.

If the offender is conditionally released, he is monitored in accordance with a conditional release plan developed by DBHDS and approved by the court. He is placed on a GPS monitor, and is supervised by a probation and parole officer who reports on his behavior and compliance at least every 6 months. If an offender on conditional release violates the terms and conditions of his release, he may be taken into custody, have his conditional release revoked, and ultimately be civilly committed to an inpatient facility of DBHDS.


Jill M. Ryan

Senior Assistant Attorney General/Chief

Sexually Violent Predators Civil Commitment Section

Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219