The CCUSO program was created by the 1998 Sexually Violent Predators Act of Iowa to provide secure, inpatient treatment for sexual offenders who are believed to be a high risk for sexually re-offending. Inpatient treatment is indefinite, with the length of commitment dependent upon the time required for each individual to complete the criteria for advancement through five (5) treatment phases.

The program was created by statute in 1998 and began operations on April 21, 1999.


The Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO) provides a secure, long-term, and highly structured setting to treat sexually violent predators (SVP) who have served their prison terms, but who, in a separate civil trial, have been found likely to commit further violent sexual offenses.


CCUSO has a five (5) phase treatment program that includes groups and individual therapy, psycho-educational programming, physiological assessments, transitional release. Patients may also be court ordered to the community through release with supervision.

Treatment is based on the current best practice of Risk-Need-Responsivity Model (RNR) that is based on the principles of:

  • Respect for the person,
  • Behavior is changeable, and
  • Treatment is based on the patient’s needs.

The 3 components of RNR are:

  • Risk: Matches the level of service to the patient’s risk to re-offend.
  • Needs: Targeting changeable risk factors linked to the patient’s offending.
  • Responsivity: Matching services to the patient’s learning style and needs.

In addition each patient receives an annual evaluation completed and submitted to the court; each patient receives an individual Master Treatment Plan that is updated annually, as well as, Action Plans, which are completed every 90 days to assess treatment progress. Patients’ participation and treatment engagement are also assessed after each group/individual therapy session, and through periodic risk assessments.

Who is Eligible to Receive Services?

In order to be referred to the CCUSO, the following must occur:

  • The individual must meet the criteria established by statute for a "sexually violent predator," including determination that the individual has a "mental abnormality" that makes it "more likely than not" to engage in future acts of a sexually violent nature.
  • The individual must be referred for commitment by a Multidisciplinary Team, the Prosecutor's Review Committee, and be determined by a professional evaluator to be high-risk for re-offending; and
  • The individual must be found to be a "sexually violent predator" by a civil court.

How to Apply for Services or Refer Someone to This Facility

All individuals are referred to the CCUSO program through the statutorily established system, including the Multidisciplinary Team and the Prosecutor's Review Committee. The Multidisciplinary Team screens all inmates who are currently incarcerated before their release. 

Structure of the Organization

The facility is operated by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the directorship of Kelly Garcia and under the leadership of Cory Turner, Director, State-Operated Specialty Care Division. Cory Turner is also the facility Superintendent.

Psychiatric Security Specialist (PSS) staff, who are supervised by Treatment Program Supervisor (TPS) staff, provide direct-care services to the individuals served. The therapists, who are supervised by the Clinical Director, provide direct clinical services.

Individuals Served

The CCUSO is located in Cherokee [on the campus of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute (CMHI)] and serves sexually violent predators (SVP's) for all ninety-nine (99) Iowa counties.


The CCUSO program has a 166-bed capacity. Individuals who are committed to the program have long-term treatment needs. Currently, all patients are male with ages ranging from 21 to 80 years of age. The average age is 50.6 years old. The average patient had one (1) or more chronic medical conditions and was on several prescribed medications. The program's average census is fluid; however, there were 148 individuals in the program as of June 30, 2023.

Other information

  • There are twenty (20) states with inpatient treatment programs like CCUSO. There is one (1) federal program in the District of Columbia.
  • Courts have determined that treatment programs like CCUSO are constitutional.

Since the program began in 1999 and through June 30, 2023, 69 patients have left CCUSO with 48 released when the court determined they no longer met commitment criteria.

Telephone Services

Patients are not permitted to call their victims (or intended victims), family members of victims, registered sex offenders, individuals civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, current inmates, individuals who have requested not to receive calls from the patient, or any individual or business that is considered counter-therapeutic. There are no restrictions regarding calls to legal counsel. 

Patients can request permission to have telephone contact with a victim, registered sex offender, individual civilly committed as a sexually violent predator, or current inmate. This must be approved by the Iowa HHS Director or designee (following the patient’s initial request and subsequent approval by the Treatment Team) and shall only occur when therapeutically appropriate.

If a patient is notified or aware of external appointments of any kind, that patient may be restricted to legal telephone calls only until the appointment has been completed.

Patients should be aware and should notify all individuals or entities they are calling that staff may monitor any telephone call except calls to/from the following: officers of federal, state, or municipal courts, any federal or state official/legislator, clerks of court, officials from the Iowa HHS, attorneys, ICRC, and/or the Iowa Office of Ombudsman.

Patients are asked to be courteous and not tie up the telephone for extended periods of time if other patients wish to make telephone calls. Time limits may be imposed based on unit usage and/or patient specific issues. Telephone calls should not be made during the Treatment Day or during scheduled program activities. Under rare circumstances there can be written authorization provided by the patient’s therapist who may allow the patient to make telephone calls during the Treatment Day or during scheduled program activities. 

Incoming Calls: Incoming telephone calls are generally limited to emergencies and/or special circumstances (e.g., contact with legal counsel, contact with the media).

Outgoing Calls: Telephones are available on the units for out-going calls from 7:00 am until the patient’s curfew as determined by the patient’s assigned behavioral level. All outgoing telephone calls are charged to the patient’s CCUSO restricted account unless a pre-paid account has been established by an approved contact through the telephone system vendor. There is a review and approval process that is required in order to have individuals added to or removed from your approved Phone List. Phone List - Request to add/revise contact forms are available on each unit so as to request to add or remove contacts.

Where Can I Find More Information?

Additional information may be obtained by contacting:

Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO)
1251 West Cedar Loop
Cherokee, Iowa 51012
(712) 225-6943