How many are held under “sex offender civil commitment” laws?

Data is important for advocacy.  But shadow prisons are so shrouded in secrecy that no one actually knows how many people are locked away in these “treatment” facilities in the U.S.  Here is a brief look at what we know (or don’t) and why the number that you often see cited is wrong.

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Should we push candidates to reform the Sex Offense Registry?

Blank & Pink sent out a “2020 Election Survey” in vol. 9 issue 6 of their newsletter (p.25) One of 4 questions solicited opinions from members of the Black & Pink family living behind the walls on whether sex-related offense policy should be a focus of their political advocacy during this presidential election cycle.  YES, and here is why: 

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Civil Commitment in New York is Worse Than Prison

Shadow prisoners held for “treatment” at CNYPC in Marcy, NY experience conditions of confinment more explicitly punitive and restrictive than those in the actual prison system in New York. A new letter to state elected officials from people living behind the walls describes the desperation that pervades systems of pre-crime preventative detention in the U.S.  Ever wonder why we at Just Future use the term “shadow prisoners” to refer to people in so-called “sex offender civil commitment” facilities?  Read this letter.

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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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Homophobic Outrage in Virginia

Last month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) succeeded in his aim of incarcerating a gay man indefinitely for sending text messages. AG Herring maintains the man – who has never been accused or arrested for any act of violence – is a “Sexually Violent Predator.” Virgina’s treatment of Galen Baughman, now 36,has attracted protests from LGBT and criminal-justice groups, and at least one Virginia lawmaker. His case highlights the dangers of Orwellian civil-commitment laws that allow indefinite confinement of people to prevent possible future offenses.

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APA Opposes Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders After Prison

APA’s Board of Trustees approved a task force report on sexually dangerous offenders at its meeting last month in San Diego recommending that psychiatrists vigorously oppose sexual predator laws. Opposing such laws is necessary “to preserve the moral authority of the profession and ensure continuing societal confidence in the medical model of civil commitment,” states the report. The report was written by the Task Force on Sexually Dangerous Offenders, a component of APA’s Council on Psychiatry and Law, which endorsed the report before it went to the Board for action. Paul Appelbaum, M.D., was chair of the council when the…

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Some Virginia sex offenders held long after sentence up

By Dena Potter, Associated Press Nov 19, 2011, 12:15pm RICHMOND, Va. — Having already served their sentences, hundreds of Virginia sex offenders are held behind bars for months — some for years — while waiting to see whether they’ll be sent to a psychiatric center indefinitely, an Associated Press review has found. Judges acting on the requests of both prosecutors and defense attorneys routinely shrug off the legal deadline for making that decision, leaving the inmates in limbo well beyond their designated punishment and without access to the very kind of treatment the state says they may need. Attorneys and…

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Vladimir Bukovsky, 76, exile who exposed use of psychiatric hospitals to jail dissidents.

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Critics of “sex offender civil commitment” laws often liken them to the Soviet practices of imprisoning dissidents in psychiatric hospitals. The man who was credited for exposing this soviet practice, Vladimir K. Bukovsky, died recently at age 76. We wanted to remember him and remind Just Futurists just how alike these practices truly are.

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Update on the Galen Baughman Civil Commitment trial

by Charlie Clark, September 4, 2019 5:27 PM Our Man in Arlington. A culture-clash of a trial will resume in late September in Arlington Circuit Court. The scantly reported-on civil procedure involves the disturbing topic of predatory sexual behavior and the Virginia laws intended to protect potential victims. The trial, preliminaries for which I attended Aug. 26, involves an Arlington family eager to spring a son from an open-ended incarceration they feel the state is pursuing to make a statement against a gay man. Galen Baughman, 35, a graduate of H-B Woodlawn Secondary program who studied opera at Indiana University,…

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Patrick Hope column: Virginia’s sexually violent predator laws have gone too far

By: Patrick Hope Sept 29, 2019 The “lock ’em up and throw away the key” era of criminal justice is over. Virginians have reassessed their views on criminal justice to better address mass incarceration weighed against costs and the likelihood to reoffend. Policies ripe for reform include: resentencing prisoners who were convicted as youth; repealing mandatory minimums; legalizing marijuana; abolishing the death penalty; ending solitary; reinstating parole; ending cash bail; and creating alternatives to incarceration. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has a strong track record of criminal justice reform. But there’s one enforcement aspect his office needs to re-examine: the…

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