Real talk from a former staffer at Virginia’s Shadow Prison | “sex offender civil commitment” should be abolished
Proponents call these laws “sex offender civil commitment” — but the people who know them best describe them as shadow prisons. In this disturbing look from an insider, we hear first-hand why Virginia’s so-called “sex offender civil commitment” facility is a shadow prison, and should be abolished.
This place is inhumane. [The author is a former staff member at the Virginia Shadow Prison, the so-called “Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation” (VCBR). The former staff member is describing lived experience at this facility in this story.]
Flagrant abuse of discretion by staff
If you ask for help — or be asking for assistance — and you need see someone to step in? They write you up.
If you disagree with anything? They right bogus reports, and won’t move you to the next phase [of treatment — meaning you effectively get imprisoned at the ‘not-a-prison’ prison longer].
If family sends you money? They tell you “better leave a certain amount on the books or [we] will knock you back.”
They don’t like your opinions — and they don’t have to be rude or sexual [opinions]? [The fake therapists] will knock you back.
The [so-called] “investigators” have lied on reports and put people’s addresses on them — and they get read in front of residents [i.e. other shadow prisoners]….This is wrong and they do it anyway!
Chutes & Ladders
You can do all ‘the work’ and ace all your ‘classes,’ [but] if the therapist don’t like you they will make shore you stay another year until they see fit [to release you]….
The definition of “sex offender civil commitment?” A prison with a treatment sign out front
This is not real “treatment.” [When it’s so obvious to me,] I can’t see why the [Virginia] AG [Office of the Attorney General] can’t see this. [At Virginia’s shadow prison,] they don’t even go by their own rules. They [also] write untrue reports and nothing is done!
They nurses watch[ed] a man beg for help when he was sick and they told him wait till the next shift and he was laying on floor about to die!
Back to these reports: when a resident [shadow prisoner] proves to you that the “observation note” wasn’t true? It still sticks…. Why do that to someone? [People living behind the walls at these facilities think of themselves as “shadow prisoners” — a term coined by advocate and Soros Justice Fellow Galen Baughman.]
They serve[d] time for their mistakes [in fact, every shadow prisoner has already completed their sentence, and repaid their debt to society]. [As a result, I want to know] where do they get [the] right [to] inflict more punishment? People have had mail open up with residents [read shadow prisoners] not standing in front of them. The “investigators” are known to do that. SSTTs [so-called Safety Security Treatment Technicians, aka shadow prison guards] never got the COVID pay. They was at [the] bottom of the list!
Want a promotion? F*ck someone up inside “sex offender civil commitment” facility
I can go on and on about this place [Virginia’s Shadow Prison, the so-called “Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation“]…. You also have to f*ck someone to move up in a job position [e.g. get promoted] — and [the so-called] “investigators” are not qualified to work there (check their backgrounds)!
The investigators knows a lot [of] black women work there. And yet her comment [to black female staff] was: “If you come here with hair done pass your back, I will suspect you messing with a ‘resident.’” That’s discrimination. But they let it go on [regardless]!!!
This is unbelievable. [As a result,] I had to leave there [the administrator has redacted information that might reveal this former staff person’s identity]. The [Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) and Virginia General Assembly] needs to look into this ASAP.
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Note from Administrator
The perspective a former staff member at Virginia’s Shadow Prison
For shadow prisoners in Virginia, there is a deep imbalance of power with so-called “sex offender treatment providers” at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR).
Therapy in Not-A-Prison Prison is Abusive
The “therapist” can talk to you any kind [of] way. And nothing is done [about it] at VCBR [the so-called “Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation” — Virginia’s “not-a-prison” prison].
[Additionally,] if you ask for a meeting they ignore you! If you remind them you want a meeting they write you up… and they asked 6 months ago!
READ my earlier post about my experiences at Virginia’s shadow prison.
* * * * *
NOTE from the Administrator
Our organizations objects to the use of the term “therapist” in the context of systems of pre-crime preventative detention. Their formal title is usually “sex offender treatment provider” — replacing the concept of “therapist” with “treatment provider.” Treatment is a broad, capacious term that is essentially meaningless. Anything might be labeled “treatment.” The developer of the so-called “Containment Model” (or “Containment Model for Sex Offender Management”), Kim English, advised against the use of the term “therapy” (or “therapist”) because her model violates the fundamental tenets of the helping professions. (reference footnote 29 here) Shadow prisons are about indefinitely detaining people (or perpetually controlling them in the community) based on past crimes. There is not “therapy” happening here. That’s merely the pretext to avoid the legitimate claims that these systems overtly violate the Constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy and ex post facto punishment. The imbalance of power in so-called “sex offender treatment” easily lends itself to abuse in shadow prisons.
My son is a [so-called] “resident” at VCBR [the Virginia Shadow Prison]. A Cuircuit Court judge order him sent to this place two years ago for “treatment.” My son has already served his time. He was sentenced for a single conviction. He is now 31 years of age.
As of today [Dec. 6, 2020] VCBR has another outbreak. The staff had to bring the virus into the facility. My son’s [cellmate] tested positive for Covid-19 on December 4. My son tested negative twice, but they moved him and others whose [cellmate] tested positive together — which makes no sense at all.
The shadow prison will test him again on December 8. He called me and said that (according to the nurse) everyone will be sent back to their unit by the facility administration — including those that was tested positive. That’s crazy! He can be exposed, mixed with those who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
My concern is that the CDC or the state should have had the facility investigated when VCBR experienced its last outbreak in October. Now it’s gotten worse because VCBR has not followed proper procedures and has endangered my son’s health.
Please tell the Governor — and others! — that VCBR staff are not adequately trained or following proper procedure. The state should have sent doctors there to assist in this matter.
Where do I start!?!
For the past 4 years I have been an upstanding member of my community and several other communities. I started a nonprofit to give back to people in need, and started a program to help troubled youths. I received awards for the great things I was doing. I have donated so much to so many schools and organized events to help feed the homeless.
Late last year I took a plea deal for sending sexual text messages to my baby sitter who was 15 years old. I took a plea deal for 12 months of house arrest, 2 years of probation and 15 years on the sex offen[se] list. I have witness others […] get off with a slap on the wrist. As a black citizen the laws are completely different to those of a white Minority.
My fiancé is in ADTC [the author is referencing New Jersey’s “Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center” — however, because her fiancé is under a “civil commitment order” he must actually be at the “Special Treatment Unit” (STU) in Avenel, NJ; these two facilities are often confused, but the former is a regular prison and the later is a ‘civil’ one] for many years, unjustified. He’s under the [so-called] “civil commitment” order; they have kept him so long. They are controlling his life.
He was supposed to be released by now, but they keep refusing to let him leave. They perpetually find excuses to hold him there. He has been attacked by two other shadow prisoners, and had to defend himself. He was stabbed and put in hospital to recover from his injuries. I hope people can understand the wrong treatment in ADTC / STU. This place needs to be investigated, because the shadow prisoners held there and visitors are routinely disrespected at this [‘not-a-prison’ prison].
It’s not right how they treat people there… this place is wicked and cursed. I pray something is done about this facility. I’ve been there too many times, and saw disrespectful actions [toward the humans indefinitely detained in these cages AFTER completing their sentences].
I’m asking that the State of Minnesota release my son who has been in jail and civilly commuted since he was 18 yrs old who will now be turning 40 soon. He served his whole prison term and was civically committed right from there. My son may ( would ) never, I believe, have been in this situation had his probation officer not lied in court. I got the transcript and found out all the facts that I knew were not true, and talked to her boss up the line. She was fired from her job. I unfortunately was unable to finish by talking to the judge as I got sick for several months.
My son was a great child and went on and was trained by a well known chef by the age of 17. He was hired working his way up at a very well know hotel for fine food and dining. He has such great potential yet to offer to the community.
I live on a hobby ranch where he could work and help me. I am not in good health and his dad also will be 72 this year. Please don’t take our only child away from us for the rest of our lives. We don’t deserve a life sentence also. If I had not gotten sick I most definitely [would] have taken all the information I had to the judge [and] we would not be here today.
How someone can lie like that and think she could get away with it and have a former counselor of my sons there to give the so called truth to back up the probation officer was not even right. He had [not] treated my son prior. He had no idea about my son except what he read from the probation officer.
I have a place for him to live, work, plus he still wants to resume his life as a chef. There are small places in the town I live near and many more places in nearby cities. He’s a very smart young man. He should be given another chance. I should be given back my only child. I am not in good health and his dad is not either. He’s been away from us longer than he was with us.
Please his health is also not good. His heath is at risk of getting this Covid-19 virus very much easier, because of prior health issues. The medication makes him more easier to contact it. Being in a system like MSOP they are close together and transmission is way to easy. Or to be brought in by staff who are on sick leave. Well by the time they’re sick they have already spread the virus to the facility. Please I beg of you to let my son be released back here to the ranch. I May Not Have Much Time Left Due To My Health. My health is not good. I can’t even go see him very often because of it.
Please don’t take his whole life away from him, even people who commit murder get a another chance. I ask you to send my son back to me for the rest of our days.
They should not get a life sentence for this crime. Especially as he has never used a gun or knife or any kind of weapon.
Please Release My Son!!!
Thank You Susan Ellis
I would like the law to change in Minnesota that keeps people who have engaged in sexual abuse indefinably detained for life after the completion of their prison sentence.
My son was charged and did his whole sentence in prison. I found out when he was in court that his probation officer lied at the hearing, I was able to prove she lied and she was fired from her job and can no longer do that type of work. Unfortunately I got sick and couldn’t take the next step with the court. My son has been in prison or now civilly commuted since he was 18. He is now nearing 40. That’s my life time without him. He has paid his time. My health is not good. His health is also not good. Now with the Covid-19 virus he has an easier chance of getting the virus because of his low resistance. I have a small hobby ranch where he could live, work on. He would not be in close area to people. Like neighbors next door. I need him home to help us out here. My husband will be 70 yrs old in 25 days. I will be 65. Please don’t keep my only child away from me for the rest of my days. My son is an excellent chef. He was on his way to the top at age 18. It is something he still wishes to do and there are jobs here in the town I live near or many in bigger cities. Please I want to have a life to share with my son, before we don’t have anytime left. No one should be commuted to life for this crime, without getting a chance to prove himself. Don’t sentence us as his parents to life too. He served his time, I plead with you to release him to my place while we still have a little time to have a life with him. He was a super child if he had not gotten molested a few times before I found out about it this probably would never have happened, this was suggested to us. Don’t let this virus kill him. Let him come home. Before we are no more… we have no time left. I beg of you to please give my only child back to us.
Issues I experienced while incarcerated:
- Denial of access to the courts;
- Denial of necessary and proper medical treatment;
- Retaliatory placement in SHU (3 times);
- Retaliatory transfer ( one-time successful, second time unsuccessful or intentional to keep me at the edge of the 500 Mile limit);
- Planting, destruction, and Fabrication of evidence;
- Issuing false statements, failure to investigate, slanderous claims, misleading Congressional offices;
- Failure to timely respond to medical emergency ( passed out from heat exhaustion in the SHU);
- Refusal to report or treat head injury;
- Bribing, intimidation, and coercion of inmates and Witnesses;
- Conspiracy to have me assaulted in the SHU;
- Tampering, interfering with, losing and reading legal mail;
- Theft, loss and destruction of legal material;
- Publicly reading legal material to other officers and inmates;
- Threatening to tell other inmates of my charge (sex offense) and falsely telling inmates I’m a child rapist;
- Abusive searches and seizures, including sexual assault (staff member ramming his hand into my crotch during a pat-down), unnecessary strip-search, frequent targeted Pat Downs, theft, loss and destruction of personal property (over $2,000);
- Other forms of discriminatory abusive and unethical Behavior targeting me and other sex offenders.
Issues I currently face with the US Customs and Immigration Services offices:
- My petition to sponsor my wife for permanent residency was denied simply based on my charge (18 USC 2252 (a)(2));
- Under 8 USC section 1154 (a)(1)(A)(viii) USCIS is permitted unfettered administrative discretion over whether I pose a risk to the safety and welfare of my wife. This decision is the sole and unreviewable authority of the director of USCIS.
- In order to overcome this I must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that I am “no risk to the safety and Welfare” of my wife. This decision is the “sole and unreviewable discretion” of the director of USCIS. There is no standard or measure for this risk but somehow I’m supposed to overcome it, even though they neither provide nor demonstrate any actual or realistic risk to my wife;
- We have appealed the decision and provided a “no risk” assessment to USCIS but they have ignored our petitions for almost 4 years now;
- During this, USCIS has not renewed my wife’s work authorization and Advance parole so she has been unable to work, unable to go to school, unable to get a driver’s license, unable to get any kind of social support or social welfare, and has been suffering immensely. As I have been incarcerated for the past four years I’ve been unable to assist or support my wife;
- Accordingly we are also considering filing a civil suit against USCIS for my wife’s lost wages and for her suffering. My wife came to the United States in 2009 on a student visa. She had a valid student visa when we met and up through 2012 when we married and she was given work authorization and Advance parole, but USCIS has refused to renew it;
- My wife is well-educated and she was a pharmacist and in charge of a pharmacy plant’s development and testing. Since coming to the US she has obtained another bachelor’s degree and was trying to go on to her Masters and PhD. All of this she had to give up while I was incarcerated and was afraid to take any action due to ICE’s overzealous persecution of immigrants;
- I have no history of abuse or violent behavior, no substance abuse in my history, no anger management problems and nothing between me and my wife that would lead to any kind of assumption of risk. This accusation of risk is pure presumption based solely on my charge and not any conduct or behavior.
The next issue is my current stay at a halfway house.
- I am not permitted access to the courts;
- I’m not allowed access to the computers;
- I’m not allowed to go to any law libraries or public libraries;
- I’m not allowed to go to the mayor’s office for returning citizens affairs or the mayor’s office for Veterans Affairs;
- I am not allowed to have cell phone either a smartphone phone or a dumb phone (all other residents are only allowed a dumb phone bur staff ignore their having smart phones);
- I am not permitted to go and see my Congressional Representatives;
- The halfway house is discriminatorily applying my judgment and commitment order against me while I’m staying at the halfway house even though they are under the Bureau of Prisons.
- They enforce these unique burdens against me even though they allow other residents – most of whom have much higher recidivism rates with drug charges or gun charges or other conspiracy type charges – to have smartphones even though the general policy for all residents is that we can only have dumb phones;
- They take it further with me by not allowing me to go to offices like the mayor’s office, or to go to libraries where I can conduct legal research, continue my education, and do not allow me access to the computers to type my legal paperwork except under very rare circumstances where a staff member is willing to supervise me, which almost never happens;
The last issue is Probation Conditions
- I’m also filing a motion for relief regarding the probation conditions imposed by the court at sentencing;
- I was not given notice of the conditions imposed by the court at sentencing;
- I was not given notice of the conditions imposed by my state at any time;
- Many of the conditions are vague and arbitrary, and do not meet my specific circumstances;
- Almost all of the conditions were applied generically, irrespective of my background, rehabilitative efforts and, again case specific circumstances;
- Most of the conditions are overly onerous considering my recidivism rate, personal circumstances, rehabilitation and other efforts;
- As an example, at sentencing I was ordered to 10 years of probation which both council and I assumed was the registration and notification requirement under SORNA. However, I recently found out that my state has a separate requirement of a lifetime registration and, assuming I am Tier 1, only after 15 years can I request to be removed from the registry, for which there are no specific standards provided to know what I am required to overcome for removal (i.e. There are no specific goals that are to be met to ensure that one can be removed from the registry);
- Prior to being incarcerated for four years, I was released on personal recognizance for 1.5 years during which time I completed sex offender treatment, went to counseling, got medication for depression and anxiety, went to couples counseling with my wife, went to sex addicts anonymous meetings, completed a master’s program, maintained two part-time jobs, and many other activities to show my rehabilitation;
- Just before self-reporting for incarceration I completed a “no-risk” psychological psychosexual evaluation;
- Despite my pre-incarceration PO saying that I was the best probationee he had, the fact that I self-surrender to prison, that during my incarceration I continued to participate in ongoing rehabilitative training and courses, and that I had put considerable effort toward rehabilitation so when I left prison I could return to my wife to care for her, the probation office and the halfway house nevertheless refuse to allow me to focus on rehabilitation programs, re-entry efforts, advance training programs, or other reentry goals that will get me back into society and able to support my wife, and my probation officer seems unwilling to work with me on the conditions based off of my rehabilitation efforts, prior behavior under supervision by the probation office, or empirical data, such as a low recidivism risk of approximately 2.4 to 4.6% and almost no chance of committing a hands-on offense;
- For example, after sentencing I received the conditions of my probation. One of those conditions was that any computer that I worked on had to have the government monitoring software on it. I was given no opportunity to contest this and my attorney refuse to assist me in any way. I have pointed out to the probation officer that any job that I’m well-qualified for would not allow for such software to be placed on their computer and certainly would not want the government monitoring the work that the company does. Because of my physical disabilities there are many jobs I am not able to perform, and I would therefore most likely have to take an office position where access to a computer would certainly be necessary;
- As another example, my wife and I have to rent out rooms at the house that we are leasing in order to be able to pay rent. Even though my personal background, empirical evidence, and statistical data demonstrate that I am no risk to anybody, whether adults or minors, the probation officer will require me to notify any possible housemates of my offense, which will scare away almost everybody who might be otherwise interested in moving into the house;
- Even though I have completed treatment and taken a psychological evaluation demonstrating no risk, the probation officer has indicated that he may require me to take these again;
- Furthermore without my agreement or notification, the probation conditions set at sentencing also require that I give up any right to privacy regarding psychological counseling and treatment, despite the fact that any psychologist or psychiatrist is required to report any significant threats to the authorities;
- Overall, it appears to me that these probation conditions are designed to keep me from rehabilitating and from effectively re-entering society, to destroy my marriage and harm my wife, to keep us from having stable housing, and to keep me from obtaining meaningful employment commensurate with my background.or my wife. There is no standard or measure for this risk but somehow I’m supposed to overcome it, even though they neither provide nor demonstrate any actual or realistic risk to my wife;
I need to obtain legal assistance, but it seems no attorney wants to touch a civil rights case of a convicted former sex offender. If anyone has suggestions or leads it would be greatly appreciated. I assume many other former SOs are experiencing these problems. I filled a lawsuit against the BOP Pro se and am trying to make it a class action suit if anyone is interested.
Best wishes to you all!
The Hospital is out of soap, even though there are signs to wash our hands and the food is not edible; the food is drying out in the equipment to heat it, and we are forced to use the canteen.
Ashlee Bonilla and Janet (a.m. shift lead) tells us that the hospital has no soap. We need to use the canteen for soap and food. Because of COVID 19 we are on lock-down, canteen = 10 items , we submit a request by 10:00 am & by about 4:00 the canteen is picked up by unit staff. However the Unit staff are too lazy to pick up the canteen, when they call to pick up the canteen they say it’s not ready. Unit 1 hasn’t had canteen picked up in 3 days. I complained to the am shift lead, Janet, who mocked me by telling me “nobody cares, rah rah rah” and slammed the door in my face. This is typical behavior by the US & shift lead in that they keep reminding us that the public doesn’t care. I think this behavior is an effort to incite violence. This behavior is Hospital-wide, they seem to be intentionally inciting us to act out.
I’m writing this letter in search of advice for myself and others who are under similar circumstances. I am wondering how someone gets committed at a young age and is still confined as they grow older.
My name is Brad Woltjer and I have been confined for 15 years. I was 22 years old when I got locked up and am now 36 years old. This year will mark 20 years since my first offense, and 17 years since my most recent offense. The time does not add up being locked up for this long. Here’s my story:
As a juvenile at age 16, I committed a sex offense. I was sentenced to sex offender treatment at Leo A. Hoffman Center, which I had completed. At age 18, I was charged with a gross misdemeanor for touching a 14-year-old’s buttocks. I was sentenced to 30 days in jail. At age 19, I was charged for solicitation of a 15-year-old and was sentenced to 100 days in jail. About 8 months after that sentencing, I violated probation for indirect contact with a minor and was sent to prison for 6 months.
After my prison sentence was over, I was petitioned for civil commitment at Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) and was committed in 2006 (age 22). Since I was committed, I went back to prison one time for not following the program rules.
Please understand that I know I have made poor choices and I am accountable for that. I contribute most of these poor choices to my youth. I was young and did not understand that what I was doing was wrong. Since then, I’ve completed my sentencing and have worked toward a better life. Since returning from my last violation I have made tremendous progress. I have grown up and matured over the last 20 years. I have learned the difference between right and wrong and have come to realize that I have hurt people in the past. I am sorry for what I did and have regret about my poor decisions of the past. Some people might attribute my progress to the program; however, I see it as personal growth and maturity. I am no longer that immature, young person. I have grown up and learned a lot about myself. I have learned how to express myself and make responsible decisions rather than hold back and be irresponsible. I am willing to ask for help because I have learned I cannot accomplish everything on my own.
Since my commitment at MSOP I’ve had many traumatizing experiences. In my opinion, the program is abusive in nature and causes emotional and psychological harm. The main things causing issues in my treatment were their so-called “treatment tools”, like the full-disclosure polygraph and penile plethysmograph (PPG) testing. Between what was self-reported and what was in my paperwork, there was a discrepancy. There was nothing else to be reported, and some facts concerning my offending were incorrectly reported. In total, I took the polygraph 4 times and nothing changed. I never reported anything different. For some reason, I did not pass the polygraph the first 3 times I took it. During that time, I was informed that I would not be able to move forward in treatment until I had a successful polygraph. They contradicted their very own program theory manual, which states that the requirement is to participate in taking the polygraph. To me, it feels as though they purposely failed me on the polygraphs to hold me back in the treatment program. To suddenly pass without reporting anything differently discomforted me in the hands of this so-called treatment program.
In 2014 I went through the Special Review Board (SRB), the first step for petitioning for a release or less-restrictive alternative to MSOP. At this time, I was informed I would soon be advanced to “Phase 3” which is the transition part of the MSOP program. After 4-5 months I still had not progressed, so I wrote to the clinical program director to find out why. Basically, I was told that I would not move forward because I hadn’t passed a full-disclosure polygraph and had substandard client engagement. When I passed the full-disclosure polygraph in 2016, I still was not moved up to “Phase 3.” I had verified that I was honest in my reporting and did what was asked of me. Four years later, this issue still has not been resolved. The Supreme Court Appeals Panel (SCAP) did not support me for any relief.
In 2016 I took the penile plethysmograph (PPG) test. I was subjected to audio segments of a creepy weird guy trying to get kids to have sex with him using persuasion or coercion, and video segments of children, teenagers, and some adults. All of this was done with a band around my penis to measure arousal. I was traumatized by this experience and felt degraded, worthless, and humiliated. This was, by far, the worst experience I’ve had in my life.
The results of that test came back reporting no clinical significance, which means I was not erect enough to measure any arousal. Because there was no clinical significance, my treatment team elected to have me retake the test. Again, in 2019, the results came back reporting no clinical significance. If this type of testing was accurate I would not have had to do this traumatizing test more than once. Studies show that it is only 33% accurate at its best performance, not including all the other factors that decrease the accuracy.
When I did the PPG for the second time in 2019, I also had to take an affinity test which reported my sexual interest in adult females, and possible interest in juvenile females, pre-juvenile females, and small child females. As of 2019, my treatment team does not believe that I have deviant sexual arousal and will not be a treatment target for me moving forward. However, I do have some treatment work to incorporate the affinity results into my understanding of my sexual arousal.
My risk to re-offend is low. I do not have an extensive offending history and my charges were nonviolent. My diagnoses continue to change depending on who evaluates me, so it’s hard to understand what issues to address in treatment. I feel like the attorneys who represent me are part of the problem because they talk about treatment, rather than the legal aspects of it. It’s hard for me to believe in a system that is flawed. It is impossible to complete a treatment program when there is no accreditation or real treatment as it is ever-changing. There are many other issues I can expand on if you would like to hear more.
All of this “treatment” is excruciating, strenuous, tiring, exhausting, and draining. Each day is a struggle to remain in treatment because there is no recourse for me. I am not the type of person to give up. At times I am at odds with my treatment team and do not wish to continue to chase the carrot. I also don’t want to rot here – I want to be with my family since they are a great source of support for me. I feel like there is no hope to end the nightmare that is MSOP.
I am open to answering questions. I am getting my story out there so others can understand the flawed and unjust system of civil commitment and offer suggestions. It may help to build a stronger case with more information and support from other sources. If you have any articles regarding civil commitment, I am interested in reading them as well. It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter and I look forward to hearing from you.
100 Freeman Drive
Saint Peter, MN 56082
i’m not sure how common it is for a person to meet a civil commitment patient through someone else on the internet, then to start a relationship long distance, but this is what’s happened, and in six months of talking every day, i’ve come to adore james. he’s completed his prison sentence and parole as well, but the state of California just keeps on holding him for something he hasn’t even done —- and they have held him for over 20 years. it seems sincerely bizarre to hold a person in custody “just in case” they might commit a future crime. in the state of California’s eyes, james is apparently guilty of something they imagine he may do if released… however, if a person has committed no crime, they cannot be guilty. California has absolutely no proof of future crimes on james’s part —– yet “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t apply here. i would love to see james happy and free. he paid the price for his past, and i believe he deserves a chance at a future outside a civil commitment facility.
Mr. Tinsley has been civilly committed since 2010, and is being wrongfully held in the Special Treatment Unit, in Avenel NJ for a crime he did not do in New Jersey. Mr. Tinsley is CEO of Pimpin Entertainmen (https://www.pimpinentertainment.net/mac-t/), which is a record company. During his civil commitment Mr. Tinsley, started a record company, wrote a book and is now in the process of creating a movie about himself and being committed. During his time in civil commitment, (STU) Special Treatment Unit they have retaliated against him denying him of his first amendment. Please note that the Clinical Director of STU, has been sued by one of his employees for Sexual Harassment and won the case. This clinical director is still in charge of this facility, WHY?
There is no reason that the state of New Jersey is holding Mr. Tinsley. We need to act now, to help set him free from this unfair punishment at once…
I have attached a link to Mr. Tinsley recent court case for your review:
My friend at VCBR was very close to a resident who was mistreated for 9 years there, not “cured” yet humiliated and completely torn down and made to feel worthless. He committed suicide Monday, August 5th at approximately 10pm.
VCBR is not a therapeutic treatment center as they pretend to the public. It is a high cost “cash cow” for the evaluators, therapists, and even many of the court appointed attorneys. VCBR is an awful and disgusting shadow prison where group leaders make residents feel worthless, rejected, abandoned, hopeless, and afraid. If residents don’t do and say what the group leader wants, the residents are written up and told they have thinking errors. In actuality, they mean residents are not allowed to think for themselves or have any ideas different from what the leader wants them to have. To have this form of civil commitment in the United States, a pre-crime detention that keeps men locked up after they have already served their time for a crime, is a crime against humanity.
Men at VCBR have documented proof showing that there is a collusion between Virginia’s AG and many of the PO’s, judges, and attorneys. They are violating the human rights and civil rights of the men who were convicted of sex offenses and completed their time. Civil commitment has created an underclass for the system to take a monetary advantage. This proof includes court transcripts, emails,conversations, and letters. A complaint has been sent to the US Justice Dept, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Section, WDC; the Richmond Times, and TV stations ABC, CBS,and NBC.
Let us remember:
When a bird is alive… it eats ants.
When the bird is dead… ants eat the bird.
Circumstances can change at any time.
When you devalue or hurt anyone in this life, you may be powerful today,
but time is more powerful than you!!!
One tree makes a million match sticks…
Only one match stick is needed to burn a million trees
So karma teaches, be good and do good.
A resident of VCBR wrote to me about the poor way the building is kept and the under-staffing of the facility. He said that somebody needs to investigate the fact that the roof leaks over much of the facility, there’s mold in several places, and dirt is all over the pipes and ceiling. The fact that there’s such under-staffing shows in many ways, especially in the lack of being able to give residents recreation time outside as well as inside. No recreation time has become a habit.
VCBR is supposed to be a non-punitive treatment center, but it is run like a prison camp. If a resident does something wrong, everyone is punished. They have cut back on copies we can make of documents. They have a rule that you can’t let anyone have what you don’t want on your food tray, even salt packets. It’s a no borrow, lend, or trade rule. Even bringing anything from your tray to your room is a write-up.
My cousin is from Maryland, but was arrested for sexual assault. The alleged victim went to court and testified on his behalf and stated that there was no assault and that the sex was consensual. However, my cousin was sentenced to 5 years. He was sent to VCBR. IT has been over 12 years and he has yet to be released, let alone be returned to Maryland. We are at our Witt’s end. This place needs to be investigated and corrupt staff, administration, judges and lawyers severely punished. We implore that if there is any way to punish or close this facility and others like it, let it be carried out immediately!!!
I am a resident at VCBR. I have been here since November, 2009. I was arrested in 1999 and supposedly released from DOC in 2008. BUT..I was held at Sussex I State Prison waiting to enter civil commitment at VCBR.
I have been to court many times, first waiting to be committed and then every year since being committed fighting for my release.. I am now dealing with my second court appointed lawyer.
I have witnessed so many things here at VCBR that are biased, unfair and possibly illegal and unconstitutional. We are sex offenders, released from prison, yet still incarcerated as inmates, hidden from the public’s view.
The community does not care or know. We are truly being treated as prisoners of war. The residents here only want fair treatment and a chance to earn our freedom. BUT….this system is rigged. VCBR finds ways and reasons to keep us here. For the lucky ones that are released, the system finds a way to drag them right back here. Where is the justice?
When I was 18 in 1974, and when I was 20 in 1976, I was convicted of a sex offense with a minor. I served my time, and then when it was time for my release, to my surprise, I was seen by a psychiatrist for evaluation for civil commitment. It seemed like a set- up, and I was civilly committed. They told me I would die here. In 2009, they started releasing people. it again was a set-up. They let me out and others, but they wanted us to live in a rooming house, pay for outpatient treatment (that we didn’t need), and pay for numerous polygraphs, which they would say we failed if we didn’t say what they wanted us to say. Of the men I knew, including myself, it was a revolving door back to VCBR. The PO, instead of being a social worker to help us reintegrate into society, is a law officer whose job it is to play, “gotcha.” No matter what mistakes are made (forgetting to register, being late home for curfew, failing the poygraph, or anything, your probation is violated. You are sent back to VCBR. It’s a revolving door, and none of us have done any other sex offenses since our original convictions many years ago.
I have been dehumanized and detained in the shadow prison called VCBR for years now. It is an expensive scheme to house away those the public doesn’t care about. It’s a fake treatment center that continues to operate as the prison it is. Based on their own public record, in 2016 they spent 16.6 million dollars on security and 4.2 million on treatment. VCBR is still always understaffed, and this is why residents don’t get proper outside recreation. Now they are building a second facility right next to this one. How do they plan to staff a new facility when they can’t keep the old one staffed? If Virginia were true to treatment, it would be 18-24 months while serving your time, not afterwards.
I want my name to be used with this story so that people can know that we in VCBR are humans and have unbelievable stories to tell. I came to VCBR from prison where I lived for 45 years. When I was 15, I raped a school teacher. I was given a sentence of life for that crime. I went before the parole board 32 times before they decided to give me parole. They did this in June 2017. They told me in March 2018 that I had made it. Before I was released, the DOC told me that I would be committed to VCBR. I refused to be evaluated by Dr. Rex Miller unless I had my attorney with me. The attorney advised me not to talk to Dr. Miller. I asked the attorney if I could beat Civil Commitment in court. He said I couldn’t.
I agreed to come to VCBR because I was being held at Red Onion State Prison and didn’t want to stay there for 2-3 years more awaiting a trip to VCBR then. On October 3, 2018 the parole board said it was going to rehear my case because I had agreed to come to VCBR instead of fighting Civil Commitment. They would possibly take my parole away and return me to prison for the rest of my life.
I feel it is wrong to bring me to VCBR after 45 years in prison. In prison I worked around women the entire time and had no type of sexual acting out toward any woman. Since being here, I went almost 3 months with no shoes because they had none that fit me. My health has deteriorated here also.