U.S. sex offense policy: The next “surveiller et punir”

Presentation summary The legacy of the 40-year-long sex panic in the U.S. is a vast regime of draconian penalties and “management” of “sex offenders” – a category including anyone from consensual teen lovers to armed rapists. Along with long prison sentences, the sex offender registry, and restrictions on residency, work, recreation, travel, and family life, a crucial element of the regime is “sex offender treatment.” Based on the notion that “sexual offending” is a unique, incurable disorder, which must be “contained” to protect the community, especially children, from predation, such treatment is anything but therapeutic. It is coercive, moralistic, often…

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“Death Sentence” — Across U.S., COVID-19 takes a hidden toll behind bars

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in U.S. jails and prisons, but testing of inmates and staff remains spotty and many confirmed cases are going unreported. The resulting lack of data has deep implications for the fight against the virus, because prison outbreaks can move easily to surrounding communities. By PETER EISLER, LINDA SO, NED PARKER and BRAD HEATH Filed May 18, 2020, 11 a.m. GMT When COVID-19 began tearing through Detroit’s county jail system in March, authorities had no diagnostic tests to gauge its spread. But the toll became clear as deaths mounted. First, one of the sheriff’s jail commanders died; then, a deputy in a…

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Covid-19 Advocacy at ‘gulag:Moose Lake’

Advocates living behind the walls at gulag:Moose Lake have been speaking out about the acute danger to shadow prisoners in Minnesota from the novel coronavirus.  Here we have assembled 3 letters to Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), 1 letter from advocates on the inside to facility staff in gulag:Moose Lake and St. Peter, and 1 memo from the facility administration pretending they’re doing something about the problem. No one deserves to die from Covid-19 behind bars.  Sadly, that is already happening because callous administrators and public officials have failed to act to protect this vulnerable population.  Jails and prisons have been…

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Coronavirus kills one, infects another, in Florida sex offender treatment center

  Residents of the Arcadia facility are held in confinement under the Jimmy Ryce Act, which forces sex offenders into treatment if experts believe they’re likely to commit another sex crime. The Florida Civil Commitment Center is a treatment center in Arcadia for sex offenders held involuntarily by the Jimmy Ryce Act. [Google Earth] By Kathryn Varn Published Yesterday A resident in a sex offender treatment facility has died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Another resident is sick with the disease. The outbreak is taking place in Florida’s Civil Commitment Center, a privately run treatment facility in DeSoto…

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Can Effective Mental Health Treatment Exist In A Criminal Justice System Driven By Profit?

Josh Gravens, now 27, was sentenced to the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, Texas when he was 13. He was told to expect a jail stay of nine months, but he spent 42 months under the supervision of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. He was not fully released until he was 21, having been detained for years without cause, he says. “I never even had a write-up,” he says. “Behavior was never the issue. Grades were never an issue. We engaged willingly and aggressively.” In Texas, the state contracts corporate prisons to jail juvenile offenders. Compensation per prisoner escalates…

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After He Found California’s Indefinite Detention of Sex Offenders Wasn’t Working, the State Shut Him Down and Destroyed His Research

Psychologist Jesus Padilla was forbidden to complete research that could have set many indefinitely committed people free. He died with the work unfinished. By: STEVEN YODER | FROM THE APRIL 2020 ISSUE of Reason.com — In late 2006, a public defender went before a Napa County judge to argue for his client’s freedom. Rex McCurdy, a 49-year-old man, had been detained for seven years at Atascadero State Hospital under a 1995 California law authorizing “civil commitment” of people who have been convicted of sex offenses, a practice that keeps them confined long after they have completed their sentences. In 1983,…

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Abolish Pre-crime in Minnesota

Pre-crime is dystopian science fiction. No one should be imprisoned for imaginary future crimes. But right now, Minnesota is warehousing 731 individuals in a prison masquerading as a treatment facility — for what they might do in the future.

Hopelessness pervades this system, where men are detained indefinitely, outside the traditional protections of the criminal law, with little prospect of release. Legal scholars have likened Minnesota’s system of pre-crime preventative detention to a “domestic Guantanamo Bay.” The British High Court has called it a “flagrant denial” of human rights. These shadow prisoners are 8 times more likely to leave in a body bag than to ever be set free.

The price tag to taxpayers is $110 million per year. The cost in terms of human lives is unspeakably tragic. And the threat to American values of liberty and due process is real.

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