The following post is from a letter to Virginia State Delegate Jennifer Carroll-Foy from Dr. Bernida Thompson.
Dear Delegate Jennifer Carroll-Foy,
You were great on the June 3rd Townhall. I appreciate your vigor for justice, especially for people of color. I am an African American citizen, and my family along with countless others that are in your area are crippled by the unjust civil commitment law which keeps our sons, fathers, husbands, and loved ones tied up indefinitely with physical and psychological punishment for imaginary future sex crimes that they might commit. I join the townhalls, and I bring attention to the fact that a vast number of men are being misused to create an underclass for the profit of civil commitment administration. Many citizens committed their sex offense over 20 years ago. They served and completed their sentences. They should be back with their families making good of their lives in the community. Instead, the Sex Offender Civil Commitment Law kicked in at the end of their sentence, and the men were taken to the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, which is a punitive shadow prison that is there to keep the men from committing future crimes. No one should be punished as guilty of a possible future crime. Furthermore, research shows clearly that sex offenses have a much lower recidivism rate than other crimes.
The entire sex offender civil commitment scheme is costing VA tax payers over $70 million dollars a year. This money could be used for helping Virginia with the pandemic, supplying victim services, restoring returning citizens, etc. Why are we allowing the unscrupulous psychologists, attorney general’s office, lawyers, and VCBR administration to use this as their cash-cow for their own financial prosperity and at the cost of these men and their families?
As our delegate, I am asking that you please help stop this deceitful scheme. Seriously investigate the practice and the treatment of these men. Talk to the men and their families. Please use your power and correct research data to get these citizens released. We need a bill to end sex offender civil commitment. These men have not committed any further crime. I would appreciate your assigning someone from your staff to contact and work with me to have this done.
Bernida Thompson, Ed.D.
Dr. Thompson is a founding member of Just Future Project. Her son Mwando Amerson is currently civilly committed to the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation in Burkeville VA. She is the principal of Roots Activity Learning Center which she founded in 1977. In 1999, She also founded the Roots Public Charter School. Dr. Thompson earned an Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) in early and mid-childhood education from Nova University.
Hi Dr. Thompson,
I’m also in shock a week before my son was supposed to be release from prison after servicing 10 years straight. Just sent him to VCBR, as well. My heart drop, this is insane and crudity, how the system do this, when they have real rapist criminals out there, and still out there doing crimes. My son is not that person, whom they claim him to be. Heck! They have people taking people life’s, and only get 5years..If you have serve your time, they should be release to their love ones. what happen to the 14 Amendment. This is not rehabilitation any body. They are not God! They just can’t say he will re-offend again.. He served his time without any trouble in the prison at all.
I was a resident of VCBR for over 10 years. I was released on May 22, 2018. I have been in the community now for a little over 2 years. I have not had any incidents in the community that have warranted violating probation or being sent back to VCBR. I saw both good and bad at VCBR. More bad than good. I started out as a horrible “inmate” there. But I finally got my act together and successfully completed the program in about 2 years. I now live on my own, in my own home, have more animals that I can shake a stick at”cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, dogs”. They are a big part of my life and keep me occupied so much. I’d love to share my story and be a part of this great project.
That’s wonderful. Has there been a reply? Any one person can make a difference in our plight to abolish civil commitment. Thank you Dr. Thompson