Letter from men at Central New York Psychiatric Center — effectively stand up for their rights and demand change

The shadow prisoners at the Gulag in Marcy, New York are formally demanding better treatment.  The following letter was sent by a committee of men who are organizing themselves at the Central New York Psychiatric Center.  Just Future applauds their concise articulation of concrete demands coupled with clear citations to the statutory language being violated.  This letter might serve as an example for the people in the other 20 systems of pre-crime preventative detention on how to effectively stand up for their rights and demand change. To: Director DEBORAH McCULLOCH c/o JEFFERY NOWICKI August 1, 2019 From: SOTP RESIDENT LIAISON…

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Lawsuit, Ballot Initiative Seek to Reform Felon Disenfranchisement in Florida | Prison Legal News

In 1868, in response to the abolition of slavery following the Civil War (except for prisoners), Florida enshrined in its constitution the permanent disenfranchisement of people convicted of a felony.  The deprivation of felons’ voting rights was combined with Black Codes that criminalized offenses state lawmakers believed were mostly committed by blacks, as a means of sending freed slaves to prison and ensuring they could not vote. While the civil rights movement helped to change racial attitudes, Florida has held strong to its disenfranchisement policy.  It is one of only four states, the others being Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia, to…

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Are We All Sex Offenders? | TEDx CUNY 2015

Galen Baughman was the first person living on the registry to tell his story on the TED stage. We have included the text from his talk here along with the video.  Are We All Sex Offenders? Galen Baughman | NYC 2015 Capture the audience… Three and a half years ago, I was sitting alone in a cell in Arlington, VA waiting for a trail that would determine whether I would spend the rest of my life in prison. Unlike most trials, this one didn’t come at the beginning of my encounter with our legal system, but at the very end….

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Our Deeply Flawed Civil Commitment System | Cato Institute

David Prescott acknowledges that sexual offender civil commitment has many inherent problems. If we’re going to lock someone up, we must be sure that it’s for a good reason. Yet even by these programs’ stated rationales, governments might do better with a less restrictive means of treatment. Surprisingly, this appears true even for high-risk offenders. Many who are so committed could and should live better lives in the community, and not in a confining institution, and yet this option rarely exists. Release rates are also shockingly low. A genuine prospect of release would do much to help the morale of…

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Texas Uses Failed Private Prison to Hold Civilly Committed Sex Offenders | Prison Legal News

In 2015, Texas converted its outpatient program for civilly committed sex offenders into a “tiered” treatment program, in which participants start out in a “total confinement facility” at twice the cost of the original program. The state awarded Correct Care Solutions a $24 million contract to provide housing and treatment at the Texas Civil Commitment Center (TCCC) in Littlefield, formerly a failed private prison known as the Bill Clayton Detention Facility. Correct Care had just acquired GEO Care, a subsidiary of the GEO Group – a for-profit prison firm whose 2009 abandonment of the Littlefield facility had almost forced the…

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Questionable Commitments | Cato Institute

Civil commitment is the legal practice of holding individuals who suffer from severe mental illness so that they may receive treatment. Even within its traditional bounds, civil commitment was problematic enough. But in recent years, civil commitment has expanded significantly. Now, young people who commit a sexual offense early in their lives stand to be stigmatized, and detained, indefinitely. Crucially this is not because they have violated a law with a particularly harsh penalty attached. It’s because the state believes that they might break the law again. In this essay, Galen Baughman challenges the practice of civil commitment, and particularly its extension to sex offenders, as an unwarranted de facto extension of our criminal justice system – one with far too few protections for the accused.

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The Rise of the Preventative State | Cato Institute

Pre-crime isn’t science fiction, says Eric Janus. It’s our system of civil commitment. The problems are simply stated: Civil commitment moves from punishing a specific act toward punishing a type of person. This approach to justice rarely works out in practice, as members of marginalized groups typically find that they can’t possibly clear their own names. One result is bad public policy about sexual violence, because evidence-based treatment for the sexually violent is disfavored in comparison to simply punishing them for the next crime it’s thought they might commit. The rule of law suffers as well, because of the highly…

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Let’s Stamp Out Perversion | Cato Institute

Amanda Pustilnik draws a sharp contrast between civil commitment as it is practiced for the severely mentally ill — and the utterly different system that has been imposed on sex offenders. The latter system she terms “a perversion,” one that both destroys civil liberties and stigmatizes the treatment of genuinely mentally ill individuals. Genuine civil commitment for the mentally ill does exist, but it is used only in emergencies, it is of very limited duration, and its judicial process puts the patient’s best interests first. Meanwhile, sexual violence remains a genuine and pressing social problem, but it does not take…

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Our Deeply Flawed Civil Commitment System | Cato Institute

The inherent problems in sexual offender civil commitment should concern all citizens. Mr. Baughman’s article addresses a number of concerns worthy of exploration. There is no question that some sex offenders are truly dangerous and that the public is understandably concerned. As currently practiced, however, civil commitment rarely delivers on erstwhile promises of either public safety or rehabilitation. This is despite the often well-intentioned staff members of these facilities. The author’s position is that if society is to employ civil commitment, we need to do so in accordance with the highest scientific standards and free of political pressure. We are not…

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Bad Deals: Look What Happens When an Innocent Man is Labeled a “Sexually Violent Predator” | Reveal News

On a stifling afternoon in the summer of 1996, Rodney Roberts pleaded guilty to a kidnapping. He had never met the victim, let alone held her against her will. Yet this is what he told the judge in the cramped Essex County courtroom. His court-appointed defender had convinced him his other choice was life in prison. The state of New Jersey, Roberts was told, had overwhelming evidence that he had raped an East Orange teenager. Plead guilty to the lesser charge of kidnapping, he remembers public defender Charles Martone saying through the bars of the court’s packed holding cell, and…

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