Consent is the Standard of This Millennium

The below is OCEAN Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 6, Article 5 (Nov. 25, 2019) published by Russell J. Hatton & Daniel A. Wilson from the gulag in Moose Lake Minnesota. 


Psychologists study the behavior of humans, and the main purpose of this research is to help us understand people and to improve the quality of human lives. Basic research is research that answers fundamental questions about behavior. Applied research is research that investigates issues that have implications for everyday life and provides solutions to everyday problems. Basic research and Applied research inform each other, and advances in science occur more rapidly when each type of research is conducted. 1

The research reported in scientific journals has been evaluated, critiqued, and improved by scientists in the field through the process of what is known as peer review. MSOP’s implementation of its “Goal Matrix” has never received any such evaluation or research. It is an experimental tool meant to correct behavior-not address any perceived mental illnesses. First of all, the MSOP treatment model is not used by any other civil commitment program in the country and has never been validated as a way to treat sex offenders.

Note Dr. Miner’s testimony as to the Matrix Factors:

Q. Let’s talk about the Matrix factors. Do you take any issue with the Matrix factors scoring guide?
A. Yes.

Q. And tell me about that.
A. Well, the Matrix factors scoring guide doesn’t meet minimal requirement for a psychological test as promulgated by the joint APA-AERA Guidelines for Psychological and Educational Testing. It doesn’t include a lot of information that would be required in a guide or in a manual. .. It’s been criticized for being unreliable; I would agree with that … do they use it to structure their program? Yes. Is the scoring adequate? I don’t know.2

One important tool for ensuring that research is ethical is the use of informed consent. Informed consent, conducted before a participant begins a research session, is designed to explain the research procedures and inform the participant of his or her rights, during the investigation.

The informed consent explains as much as possible about the true nature of the study, particularly everything that might be expected to influence willingness to participate, but it may in some cases withhold some information that allows the study to work.

MSOP has never requested informed consent to the goal matrix from its detainee population. Rather, MSOP detainees are subjected to this experimental research without even provided notification that they have become a Human Research Subject.

According to Minnesota [Detainees] Bill of Rights, 144.651 Health Care Bill of Rights

Subd. 12. Right to refuse care.

Competent detainees and residents shall have the right to refuse treatment based on the information required in subdivision 9. Residents who refuse treatment, medication, or dietary restrictions shall be informed of the likely medical or major psychological results of the refusal, with documentation in the individual medical record. In cases where a detainee or resident is incapable of understanding the circumstances but has not been adjudicated incompetent, or when legal requirements limit the right to refuse treatment, the conditions and circumstances shall be fully documented by the attending physician in the detainees or residents medical record.

Subd. 13. Experimental research.

Written, informed consent must be obtained prior to a detainees or residents participation in experimental research. Detainees and residents have the right to refuse participation. Both consent and refusal shall be documented in the individual care record.

[MSOP Goal Matrix].

Subd. 14. Freedom from maltreatment.

Detainees and residents shall be free from maltreatment as defined in the Vulnerable Adults Protection Act.

Maltreatment means conduct described in section 626.5572, subdivision 15, or the intentional and nontherapeutic infliction of physical pain or injury, or any persistent course of conduct intended to produce mental or emotional distress. Every detainee and resident shall also be free from nontherapeutic chemical and physical restraints, except in fully documented emergencies, or as authorized in writing after examination by a detainees or residents physician for a specified and limited period of time, and only when necessary to protect the resident from self-injury or injury to others.

The evidence has shown that MSOP treatment progress is scored using the Matrix factors. The Matrix factors were developed and implemented by MSOP – something that was not previously used and is not used in the same way by any other program in the country.

The evidence is also clear that the Matrix factors form the basis of the MSOP’s treatment program. The same Matrix Factors are applied wholesale to all detainees, in a potentially cookie-cutter fashion. Instead, comprehensive assessments should be completed for each detainee to identify specific risk factors and individualized treatment needs, which should then be conveyed in language that the detainee can understand and address in treatment.

Furthermore it must be known and understood that the matrix itself is an experimentation tool. Detainees are urged to submit a request and ask your primary therapist why you were never requested for your informed consent to an experimentation tool such as the Goal matrix? It is the responsibility of the primary therapist to notify their detainees of their [Detainee] Bill of Rights and Constitutional Rights to ask for informed consent. Informed consent that should have been requested back in 2009 – to consent to the experimental tool the goal matrix. That’s ten years, 10 years detainees at MSOP have been unknowingly participating in the MSOP’s experimental research without INFORMED CONSENT. Since 2009, MSOP has relied on a ‘treatment Matrix’ to purportedly assess detainees’ needs and progress in treatment. Before that they were not used in MSOP. No other sex offender commitment or treatment program uses this ‘ Matrix.’

Despite its stated goals, Minnesota’s treatment approach falls flat and falls hard. The goal, observed in theory but not in practice, is to “treat and safely reintegrate” committed individuals at the MSOP back into the community. But the current three-phase incarnation also provides little to no evidence of progression. The program’s Matrix scoring method fundamentally lacks consistency. Indeed, the MSOP did not even bother to train its staff on what factors matter under the Matrix until nearly four years into the model’s use. Noting that the MSOP began using the Goal Matrix in 2009 and began training on factors in 2 013. Another year passed in 2014 before the MSOP trained staff on scoring specifically.

This means that for those 6 years MSOP detainees were scored by clinical who had no prior training or understood specifically how to score the Matrix factors. Which lends me to question why detainees in MSOP are not telling their primary therapist that they know they are not in the correct phase of the program and then to demand that this serious concern be addressed.

I [Russell] urge MSOP detainees to employ your treatment skills to problem solve this detrimental problem. Be assertive and tell your therapist to immediately acknowledge your progress advance you to the correct phase, CPS, a Provisional Discharge or to support a full discharge from MSOP. Most of the MSOP detainee population should be in Phase III ! The lack of urgency surrounding the treatment approach corresponds to its lack of rigor and, ultimately, to its lack of purpose. And yet, ten years, TEN YEARS LATER, the MSOP treatment ‘Matrix’ standards are undefined or illdefined, lack specific examples of application, and are highly subjective.

Many therapists report that the Matrix is not being uniformly applied and those standards for interpreting the matrix are lacking, allowing a wide range, from impossible-perfection standards to very lenient standards, from one therapist to the next. A mere glance at some of the factors used in various ‘behavioral areas’ of the Matrix confirms this subjective vagueness: “negative social influences,” “poor self-regulation,” “general hostility,” and “antisocial attitudes and behavior.” The undefined, unspecific Matrix standards used by MSOP ostensibly to judge treatment progress “allow for overly subjective evaluation by clinicians” in MSOP. In most cases, these Matrix standards have been employed to thwart treatment progress, rather than to promote it.

[ Another behavioral experimental research program put into effect into the MSOP institutionalization regime is the TIER project. More on that in a later issue]

Again, although the conclusion made by the Court sounds definitive when ruling MSOP unconstitutional, MSOP effectiveness of employing the matrix in practice is weighted down by the fanatical adherence by MSOP administrators and clinical supervisors to the unspoken concept that treatment of committed sex offenders ‘should’ take a long time, on the tacit belief that, to render any MSOP detainee “safe” for release, he must utterly be ‘ re-made’ as a different persona than his own.

It is this belief, never laid bare, that is behind the decades-long detention and treatment of MSOP’s detainees, compelling them to satisfy the Herculean requirements of a practically endless series of “Matrix” “goals” before administrators will consider an individual’s release. This is the vehicle by which each treatment-participating MSOP detainee is denied “completion” of treatment over countless years, until they simply give up-or die. [RJH] It is deliberate and cruel.


1 Lewin, Kurt, The complete social scientist: A Kurt Lewin reader, M. Gold, Ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association ©1999
2Karsjens v Jesson T.T., Vol. V p.1026 v. 3-25 Ibid. at Vol. VI pp.1183 v. 5-1184 v. 13


  1. It baffles me how the psychologists who testify for the state can convince themselves it’s ok to label people and keep them at a stand still indeffinately. They don’t seem to have a conscience; they sabatoge growth and second chances of people by repeated false diagnosis. They label and hide behind their degrees to effectively prostitute themselves for personal power and wealth. In all my psychology courses and teachings throughout life, I learned that we can be destoyed by labels, never healed. No matter if a person is the perpetrator or a true victim, neither will heal and advance through life if they are chained by a label.

    • Just Future Project strongly supports Ms. Olson’s observations on the destructive power of labels. We encourage you to visit our Communications Page for a more in depth discussion on the importance of avoiding dehumanizing labels and how to use deliberate messaging to effectively re-frame this conversation around the dignity and equality of our loved ones. The page also includes 3 articles from the social science literature describing labeling as an ethical issue in the field of psychology and advocating for a de-labeling movement to end this abusive practice.

  2. Totally against public registry

    I’m sure years from now civil commitment will be a thing of the past and I hope it is not replaced With anything else. First and foremost, the registry must be abolished so these so called hospitals will become obsolete

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