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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Civil Commitment: ‘Excuse me, your honor, some judicial maturity, please?’ (Part III)

Part I   Part II   Part III BY EARL YARINGTON  Whether we are addressing the war on drugs, violence, gun violence, child sex abuse, or civil commitment, our lawmakers don’t want to fix these problems. It is understandable and necessary to protect children and the vulnerable, but the data show that our lawmakers, our justice system is failing badly but still moving at lightning speed to permanently punish and lock up anyone whose sexual interest is determined to be abnormal. For many in law enforcement, the intention was to protect children, but our ignorance of sexuality and the serious study of it…

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Civil commitment and the courts’ historic march toward genocide (Part II)

Part I   Part II   Part III BY EARL YARINGTON Part II will take a different turn, as I wait for sources to respond to me on court decisions. I ask the reader to take this long and troubling trip with me. I need to break with the fine form and clarity of journalism. There will be a  Part III. My apologies, but sometimes journalism must be comprehensive at the cost of being concise. Here we will address the troubling myth-building those in power do for personal gain, and the danger mischaracterization and misunderstanding bring to jeopardizing our democratic republic. Such could…

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Civil Commitment and the destruction of human rights (Part 1)

Part I   Part II   Part III BY EARL YARINGTON · DECEMBER 30, 2019  A few years ago, I wrote an article on a blog. It was more an experiment, a testing ground. The website was “Criticl.” It was mainly a political site that supported the legalization of marijuana and of Bernie Sanders becoming president. I wrote that there are two ways our government (local, state, federal) is attempting to limit the Constitution: the fear of terrorism and child pornography law. It may be understandable to hate terrorists and sex offenders, but, you know, the devil is in the details. Who exactly is a…

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Inside NACDL: Sex Offender Laws Run Amok

When America’s politicians latch on to a “law and order” issue, watch out! Their capacity to demagogue an issue, exploit public fears, and enact draconian legislation is limitless. We saw this with the war on drugs1 and the war on terrorism. And now we see it with the proliferation of sex offender laws that impose far-reaching collateral consequences. They are often based on myth and emotion, unsupported by empirical research and broadly applied, and are indifferent to the facts of the particular case. Last month, The Champion reported that NACDL’s recent affiliate survey disclosed that 58 percent of the respondents…

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