Nearly two decades after the birth of American Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) laws and the tolerant review of their legitimacy by American courts, European courts and international bodies are beginning to develop a jurisprudence of their own with regard to preventive detention. Applying international human rights norms, these bodies have been significantly less tolerant of preventive detention, looking not only at their design but also at their implementation. Simultaneously, American courts are showing the beginnings of a second look at SVP laws, inspired and informed not by promises about the future implementation of newly passed SVP laws, but rather by the sorry record of two decades of implementation. This article examines an American SVP scheme as it has been implemented over 20 years, contrasts the international perspective, and offers some speculation about the path of reform for American SVP schemes. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.