The below is OCEAN Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 9, Article 5 (Jan. 15, 2020) published by Russell J. Hatton & Daniel A. Wilson from the gulag in Moose Lake Minnesota.
Tim Coon is 34 years old. He has been at MSOP for over 13 years. Coon was recently granted Provisional Discharge (PD) by the Special Review Board (SRB). Receiving PD means that although Coon will wear a GPS device and will be supervised, he will likely be able to live in his own place. PD is essentially the last step to full discharge from the MSOP. “Before this,” Coon said, “I had never filed for SRB. I had witnessed too many guys who I thought should get out, fail, so I never tried. It was the release of Jacob Rask, who is also a juvenile offender, however, with a more violent history than I, that motivated me. Jacob Rask is doing great out there.
That’s inspiring. I was thinking of filing for SRB when OCEAN encouraged me. This encouragement was the final tipping point to actually file.”
Coon committed his sex offense in 2001, when he was only 15 years old. He was then sent to a juvenile facility called Mille Lacs Academy. At the age of 18 he was sent to Alpha House in Minneapolis for inpatient Sex Offender treatment in Minneapolis. He was unable to complete the Alpha program before he was committed in 2 005 to the State Secure Hospital for mental illness. In 2006, he was committed to MSOP and has been here for 13.5 years. “In 2005 it was all about the politics” Coon says. Coon’s offense was listed as a “nonviolent” crime and he has no other criminal record. Coon has thus been locked up, in total, for 18.5 years for the crime he committed when he was 15 years old.
When Coon came to MSOP, he participated in the MSOP treatment. He stuck with it for 5.5 years, trying his best to progress from the 1st phase. Coon says he was “getting nowhere with it.” He stopped participating 8 years ago. We now know that Coon never needed treatment in the first place. Every time a client gets a new therapist, or they change the program, it is like the client has to start over from the beginning. This creates an environment of hopelessness and despair. More than 20 therapists have been assigned to Coon since he started treatment at MSOP. Also, in that time period, the program structure has changed at least 3 times. “Because we are here so long, compared to outpatient treatments, we end up with so many therapists. There are only about three therapists that are still here from 13.5 years ago, when I got here. They used to have 8 modules, then they split them up into 29 modules. I wasn’t about to play the games anymore.”
Coon had proposed a deal with the Attorney General (AG), who has the option of appealing the SRB’s decision to grant Coon’s Provisional Discharge. The deal was this: As long as the AG does not appeal the SRB’s grant of Provisional Discharge, Coon will not ask the SRB for a Full Discharge. In addition, Coon asked for there to be a 180 day cap on the Provisional Discharge, meaning that in 180 days, Coon will be Fully Discharged from MSOP, with absolutely no conditions. He would be a free man. Even though the AG did not appeal the decision, MSOP Executive Clinical Director, Jannine M. Hebert did. This was a curve ball nobody saw coming.
OCEAN thought that that MSOP would support this deal because they know that Coon should have never been committed in the first place.
Coon was excited about getting out. Unfortunately, it looks as if he has more hurdles to jump before he is a free man.
Coon has never had a cell phone or a driver’s license. If he does got out, he will need to adjust to the real world. There will be challenges. “I would need to get a routine down, but I would finally be able to go for a walk and not have to walk in circles, like we do in the facility. I would be able to see my sister. I’d be able to see my parents and grandparents more than once a month. I could play golf again. My clubs and shoes are still in my golf bag, where they were almost 2 0 years ago.”
I asked Coon, “How do we get out of here?” Coon answered:
It varies on the person. Some need treatment, some do not. Some don’t belong here at all and never did belong here. You can’t just convince the clinical team that you don’t belong here, you have to convince everyone … many who have made significant progress in the program have done a lot of treatment, but they are also juvenile offenders. This treatment needs to be fixed. It needs to be reformed for the clients. The clients need to have a say in the reformation of MSOP. We know what we need.
Although Coon is not out, we are proud of him for making the efforts to get back to his family.
Congratulations Coon. OCEAN is rooting for you.