Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP)?
- What kind of treatment is provided?
- How many SVPs are committed from San Diego County?
- What is conditional release into the community?
- What is the rationale for placing multiple patients at the same location?
- Are SVPs ever released without conditions?
- How many former SVPs are there in San Diego County?
- Where are Phase V SVPs permitted to live?
- Do SVPs have to register as sex offenders?
- Is GPS used to keep track of SVPs?
- Does law enforcement monitor SVPs more closely that other sex offenders?
- What happens if a released SVP patient violates his Terms and Conditions?
An SVP is a person (almost all are men) who has been convicted of one qualifying sex crime who has a mental disorder which makes him dangerous to the community after a court commitment proceeding under Welfare & Institutions Code 6600. Once he is found to meet SVP criteria, the patient is committed to the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) until he is deemed 1) ready for community-based treatment or 2) no longer presents a danger to the community. Those determinations are made in a court hearing.
2. What kind of treatment is provided? [TOP]
There are 5 phases to the California Sex Offender Commitment Program. The first 3 are aimed at recognizing and controlling high risk behaviors through cognitive behavioral therapy. Phase IV begins to prepare the SVP for possible community-based treatment (Phase V) and eventual community re-integration. Although all committed SVPs are offered treatment, at this time only about 20% have chosen to participate in the treatment program.
3. How many SVPs are committed from San Diego County? [TOP]
As of April 2018, there are 65 SVPs currently committed to Coalinga State Hospital from San Diego County.
4. What is conditional release into the community? [TOP]
This is the final phase of treatment while the SVP is placed in and supervised within the community. For more information, read "What is Outpatient Treatment".
5. What is the rationale for placing multiple patients at the same location? [TOP]
There are economic reasons, including rental saving and efficiency of transporting to various treatment programs patients are required to participate in each day. However, more importantly according to DSH, the research indicates that sex offenders living together who are in treatment reoffend at lower rates that those living alone.
6. Are SVPs ever released without conditions? [TOP]
Yes. Committed SVPs have a right to a court hearing to determine if they continue to qualify as an SVP. The SVP may bring a motion to have a court determine that, or it may occur as a part of the regular court process under Welfare & Institutions Code 6600. A judge or a jury may rule that a particular patient no longer meets the legal requirements for SVP commitment. When that occurs, the "former" SVP is released into the community without any supervision, other than the requirement that he remain law-abiding and register as a sex offender every 90 days.
7. How many former SVPs are there in San Diego County? [TOP]
As of April 2018, eleven SVPs have been ordered into community outpatient treatment since 1996 -- Douglas Badger, Matthew Hedge, John Norman, Frank Johnson, David Chambless, Gary Snavely, Terry Stone, Allen Fields, Mikel Marshall, Michael Martinez and Herman Smith.
Douglas Badger was first granted conditional release in 2006, but was revoked and returned to the hospital for further treatment. He was again conditionally released in 2013, but was never physically placed in the community and withdrew his request for release in 2014. As of April 2018, Douglas Badger is committed to Coalinga State Hospital.
Matthew Hedge, who was granted conditional release in 2006, was revoked and then ordered back into the community for a second time in December of 2009. In September of 2012, the court found that he was no longer an SVP and he was unconditionally released.
John Norman was granted conditional release for a brief period of time in 2008, but was revoked in 2009, and died at Coalinga State Hospital.
Frank Johnson, who in 2011, was granted conditional release died that same year.
David Chambless was in the conditional release program from 2007 until 2014, at which time the court found he was no longer an SVP and he was unconditionally released.
Gary Snavely was granted conditional release in 2007. His outpatient status was revoked in 2008, and he returned to the hospital for further treatment. In August of 2014, he was granted conditional release for a second time. He was revoked a second time and is currently at Coalinga State Hospital.
Terry Stone was granted conditional release in 2013 and remains in supervised outpatient treatment.
Allen Fields was granted conditional release in 2013 and remains in supervised outpatient treatment.
Mikel Marshall was granted conditional release in 2014. He remained on conditional release until February 2018, at which time the court found he was no longer an SVP and he was unconditionally released.
Michael Martinez was granted conditional release in 2017. His placement hearing occurred on March 16, 2018. His placement has been ordered.
Herman Smith was granted conditional release in November 2017. His placement is currently pending.
8. Where are Phase V SVPs permitted to live? [TOP]
If an SVP is being supervised as an outpatient in the community, he can only live in a court-approved placement.
9. Do SVPs have to register as sex offenders? [TOP]
Yes. All current and former SVPs are required to register every 90 days, or whenever they move. There are also other registration requirements for particular situations which are explained to them at the time they register. For instance, if a former SVP were to move, he would need to register with the police department reporting his new address.
10. Is GPS used to keep track of SVPs? [TOP]
If a SVP is a Phase V outpatient being treated in the community, he will have to wear a GPS as part of his supervision. Other former SVPs have no such monitoring.
11. Does law enforcement monitor SVPs more closely that other sex offenders? [TOP]
Yes. Law enforcement watches SVPs more closely that other registered sex offenders. In San Diego County, the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force is aware of each high risk offender in the county. Working with law enforcement agencies throughout the county, the SAFE team proactively monitors these offenders. Additionally, when an SVP is in the community under a court-ordered placement, law enforcement is part of the Community Safety Team established by Liberty Healthcare, the community supervision program. For more information, read "What is Outpatient Treatment".
12. What happens if a released SVP patient violates his Terms and Conditions? [TOP]
When the community safety is threatened by the violation, the SVP can be immediately removed from the community until the court determines whether the violation is serious enough to warrant revocation of his community placement. If so, the SVP is returned to the hospital for continued treatment. In San Diego, this procedure has been utilized to revoke the outpatient placement of several SVPs. For more information, read What is Outpatient Treatment.