Stories

STORIES

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Stories

VCBR is killing people

My friend at VCBR was very close to a resident who was mistreated for 9 years there, not “cured” yet humiliated and completely torn down and made to feel worthless. He committed suicide Monday, August 5th at approximately 10pm. VCBR is not a therapeutic treatment center as they pretend to the public. It is a high cost “cash cow” for the evaluators, therapists, and even many of the court appointed attorneys. VCBR is an awful and disgusting shadow prison where group leaders make residents feel worthless, rejected, abandoned, hopeless, and afraid. If residents don’t do and say what the group…

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Collusion of the VA AG, PO, Judges, and attorneys

Men at VCBR have documented proof showing that there is a collusion between Virginia’s AG and many of the PO’s, judges, and attorneys. They are violating the human rights and civil rights of the men who were convicted of sex offenses and completed their time. Civil commitment has created an underclass for the system to take a monetary advantage. This proof includes court transcripts, emails,conversations, and letters. A complaint has been sent to the US Justice Dept, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Section, WDC; the Richmond Times, and TV stations ABC, CBS,and NBC. Let us remember: When a bird is…

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VCBR, Poorly Kept Building and Understaffed

A resident of VCBR wrote to me about the poor way the building is kept and the under-staffing of the facility. He said that somebody needs to investigate the fact that the roof leaks over much of the facility, there’s mold in several places, and dirt is all over the pipes and ceiling. The fact that there’s such under-staffing shows in many ways, especially in the lack of being able to give residents recreation time outside as well as inside. No recreation time has become a habit. VCBR is supposed to be a non-punitive treatment center, but it is run…

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Virginia Justice system Not Just, but Horribly Corrupt

Hello, My cousin is from Maryland, but was arrested for sexual assault. The alleged victim went to court and testified on his behalf and stated that there was no assault and that the sex was consensual. However, my cousin was sentenced to 5 years. He was sent to VCBR. IT has been over 12 years and he has yet to be released, let alone be returned to Maryland. We are at our Witt’s end. This place needs to be investigated and corrupt staff, administration, judges and lawyers severely punished. We implore that if there is any way to punish or…

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The system here is rigged

I am a resident at VCBR. I have been here since November, 2009. I was arrested in 1999 and supposedly released from DOC in 2008. BUT..I was held at Sussex I State Prison waiting to enter civil commitment at VCBR. I have been to court many times, first waiting to be committed and then every year since being committed fighting for my release.. I am now dealing with my second court appointed lawyer. I have witnessed so many things here at VCBR that are biased, unfair and possibly illegal and unconstitutional. We are sex offenders, released from prison, yet still…

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They told me I would die in here; it’s a set-up

When I was 18 in 1974, and when I was 20 in 1976, I was convicted of a sex offense with a minor. I served my time, and then when it was time for my release, to my surprise, I was seen by a psychiatrist for evaluation for civil commitment. It seemed like a set- up, and I was civilly committed. They told me I would die here. In 2009, they started releasing people. it again was a set-up. They let me out and others, but they wanted us to live in a rooming house, pay for outpatient treatment (that…

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$110 Million Dollar Pre-Crime Detention Scheme

I have been dehumanized and detained in the shadow prison called VCBR for years now. It is an expensive scheme to house away those the public doesn’t care about. It’s a fake treatment center that continues to operate as the prison it is. Based on their own public record, in 2016 they spent 16.6 million dollars on security and 4.2 million on treatment. VCBR is still always understaffed, and this is why residents don’t get proper outside recreation. Now they are building a second facility right next to this one. How do they plan to staff a new facility when…

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Haven’t I received enough punishment?

I want my name to be used with this story so that people can know that we in VCBR are humans and have unbelievable stories to tell. I came to VCBR from prison where I lived for 45 years. When I was 15, I raped a school teacher. I was given a sentence of life for that crime. I went before the parole board 32 times before they decided to give me parole. They did this in June 2017. They told me in March 2018 that I had made it. Before I was released, the DOC told me that I…

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Lawyer needed for court filed claim against VCBR

I am held as a hostage resident of VCBR. My only offense was in 1990, and I have long since finished serving my time. I wasn’t even a Virginia resident, but I am not allowed to go back home to my family in another state. Even when I was released from the VCBR, I was not allowed to be with family for Thanksgiving or Christmas due to the fact that children would be there. It is depressing even though you try to keep your spirits up. When I tested positive for drugs, I was put in general population jail, so…

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22 years without a criminal offense

Civil Commitment is a hostage scheme to capture those US citizens that the public cares least about. Why? Because the state can add them to the state population and gain more congressional representatives as well as not have these hostages be able to vote. I have gone 22 years without a criminal offense. Yet, Virginia won’t release their cyclic grip of VCBR, release, and probation violation for anything that strikes their fancy. I am not permitted to leave the state and go home. How is that therapy. I took all of the classes and learned all there was to learn,…

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Sex Abuse complains about officers in N.J.

I have written numerous complaints and even tort claims against the sexual abuse in the N.J. civil commitment scheme, but to no avail. I need the public to know that the prison trashes legal papers that I write. My first complaint was about an officer at ADTC in Avenel, N.J. prison. He came in my dorm to use the urinal. He called my name and when I got there he asked me to look at his d….. He has done this more than once. The same officer calls me to his desk and asks me if I want to suck…

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Still paying for an error I made in 1972

I can’t remember if I sent this story in before now. So many letters from men in the same situation seem to run together. Joe wrote me to let me know that he is still paying for an offense that he served time for back in 1974. Civil Commitment has been a revolving door of “treatment,” release, and “got cha again” tactics. They told Joe he would die there. The system is rigged. “They want us to live in rooming houses, take polygraphs, and pay for treatment on the street,” Joe said.

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Treatment Blinders

One thing that has confused and upset me since coming to VCBR is that many of us, including me, have had the treatment classes for years while in prison. Yet, we have to begin treatment in here as if we were beginning for the very first time ever. Any treatment i have ever received is ignored – all of the relapse prevention model, the offense cycle, the containment model, or my own will power towards volitional control. Nothing I have ever accomplished has any weight or credibility here. I am treated as an ignorant patient with zero past treatment. Even…

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Fight for release

I have been at VCBR for over 8 years. I made Phase 3 in 2011 with a recommendation for discharge. However, for some reason, I was put on phase probation. False information was put in my record. In 2015, I was demoted again to Phase 2 because I complained about clinical misconduct. In 2018, I was once again in Phase 3 with a recommendation for discharge. However, a new therapist joined our group besides the then current one. These 2 therapists undid all the accomplishments I made with my previous therapist who left. I complained about Ms. X. making fun…

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VCBR – a cycle of demoting residents for financial purposes

I got a letter from Tom who has spent over 7 years at VCBR. Every time he reached phase 3, he would be demoted back to phase 2 claiming “thinking errors” which meant he didn’t agree with some of the misrepresentations that the “therapists” said. As long as you agree with everything they say about us, they are fine, but if you disagree, you are written up and demoted. Their salary and the viability of the institution depends on keeping as many residents as possible.

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Thoughts from VCBR

Some days I feel like I am walking on eggshells, 3 feet thick! We are definitely “under the microscope” 24/7. Often I view the treatment process as being a brain-washing pattern where they want to lay you down, cut you open, scrape everything that’s inside out. They want to put back in what they want to be there. I fight mentally to retain “me”, my identity, my personality. Worst of all (for me), is that many parts of treatment go against my walk with God , opposite to the Scriptures and contrary to the way I was raised, that is…

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Restrictions on religious rights

We are two Christian young men at VCBR.  One day we asked the religious volunteer if he could add communion to our worship/fellowship services.  The volunteer checked with the administration, saying that he could bring everything in himself with no cost to the facility.  The administration gave the two of us greater restrictions because we are not supposed to ask a volunteer for anything. One of us was given 30 days and one 60 days restriction of not attending Bible study or church services.  When we complained, we were told that we could worship by ourselves. (The Catholic service does…

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Punishment or Treatment?

I wanted to join with several other men to make a special meal using what we had from commissary. We had done this before. One particular day, an “investigator” came along and said that this process was against the rules. The investigator wrote us up. I was put back 9 months in my treatment program. That is certainly punishment. They call it treatment because the men are not allowed to share, give, barter, or trade anything, even to help another, just like in prisons.

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Total visual control

Cameras roll all over the facility. As I was talking to a friend on the phone, I could see 6 cameras from where I stood. Employees walk around writing down any little thing they can find which can be categorized as against the rules and write the infractions in our files.

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Efforts to bring about changes rebuffed

Efforts to bring about changes rebuffed;  Reg In July, I sent to a state legislator a list of conditions in the facility which were less than acceptable. This resulted in a return letter to the facilities manager at VCBR by the delegate. The facilities manager (warden) then wrote to me. He rebuffed all of my statements as incorrect. I noted that there was no AC in rooms, black mold was growing in the showers, massive amounts of food were going in the trash, guards were using metal handcuffs and orange suits (like in prison) when the residents are taken off…

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Canceled performances

I wrote a very successful play. We held two performances. Everyone loved it. Soon after, I wrote another one and gathered together about 40 men to participate. Some of these men were those who needed serious treatment. They were so excited to be in the play. The administration found that our prop man had made cardboard guns to use in the play and shut down the whole endeavor, disappointing many residents.

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Marking time

I have been at VCBR for 4-5 years. At this point I am still in Phase 1. I have learning disabilities in writing and reading and haven’t been able to do all the work for the classes. I got a tutor myself recently. Another reason I am not progressing is because I shared food with another resident and was put back in my treatment. This usually is for many months.

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Guilty but innocent

I had surgery and was on pain medication. It was finished. I had no more. Staff said I gave the rest to another person. I did not. I was made to retake a class because of an infraction.

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Physical abuse

A guard at VBCBR verbally abused me. I brought the incident to the notice of the administration. It was under investigation according to a written document which I received from the Director’s office. While a case is being investigated, the 2 parties are not to communicate at all. The officer named in the accusation came to search my room. I told him he shouldn’t be there. When the guard noticed me leaning against the door frame as he talked, the group of officers “took me down.” I was put in isolation for a week and incurred a very serious finger…

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False charges

I was stopped by a guard while leaving the cafeteria. The guard said I had a sandwich in my pocket. The guard wrote up an observation note for my file, even though the charge wasn’t true.

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Waiting over 3 weeks for prescription

Three weeks ago, I had a doctor appointment and was prescribed a medication.  I haven’t received it yet.

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Not allowed to grieve

My mother died while I have been in VCBR. I was quite upset and had a few class absences. As a result, I was kept in Phase 1, not put in Phase 2.

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Shackled and humiliated

I am taken to VCU Medical Center often for treatment. As a resident of a treatment facility, not an inmate in a prison, I should not have to wear a jumpsuit and wrist and leg shackles. Yet I must do this each time I go to the hospital. I am also not supposed to be within sight and sound of inmates from the department of Corrections who are held in a “holding cell” before their appointments. I am usually within sight and sound of them.

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Watched all the time

A monitor sits at a table in each pod at VCBR watching us and trying to catch us in a violation of any kind.

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Round the clock monitoring

We at VCBR are about to get new ID cards which will have a GPS chip so that the administration can keep track of us at all times.

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I am a normal human being

I am labeled a registered sex offender in the state of Florida. I am college educated, raised in a home with loving parents who showed me, by their example, the benefits of hard work and honest living. I was never sexually abused in any way. My family history is made up of intelligent people from the fields of engineering, architecture, art and design. I inherited the artistic side of the family genes. Human faces fascinate me. They are beautiful no mater their age. Because of this fascination I have been branded a pedophile. I broke the law by looking at…

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Lawsuit, Ballot Initiative Seek to Reform Felon Disenfranchisement in Florida | Prison Legal News

In 1868, in response to the abolition of slavery following the Civil War (except for prisoners), Florida enshrined in its constitution the permanent disenfranchisement of people convicted of a felony.  The deprivation of felons’ voting rights was combined with Black Codes that criminalized offenses state lawmakers believed were mostly committed by blacks, as a means of sending freed slaves to prison and ensuring they could not vote. While the civil rights movement helped to change racial attitudes, Florida has held strong to its disenfranchisement policy.  It is one of only four states, the others being Iowa, Kentucky and Virginia, to…

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Are We All Sex Offenders? | TEDx CUNY 2015

Galen Baughman was the first person living on the registry to tell his story on the TED stage. We have included the text from his talk here along with the video.  Are We All Sex Offenders? Galen Baughman | NYC 2015 Capture the audience… Three and a half years ago, I was sitting alone in a cell in Arlington, VA waiting for a trail that would determine whether I would spend the rest of my life in prison. Unlike most trials, this one didn’t come at the beginning of my encounter with our legal system, but at the very end….

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Our Deeply Flawed Civil Commitment System | Cato Institute

David Prescott acknowledges that sexual offender civil commitment has many inherent problems. If we’re going to lock someone up, we must be sure that it’s for a good reason. Yet even by these programs’ stated rationales, governments might do better with a less restrictive means of treatment. Surprisingly, this appears true even for high-risk offenders. Many who are so committed could and should live better lives in the community, and not in a confining institution, and yet this option rarely exists. Release rates are also shockingly low. A genuine prospect of release would do much to help the morale of…

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Texas Uses Failed Private Prison to Hold Civilly Committed Sex Offenders | Prison Legal News

In 2015, Texas converted its outpatient program for civilly committed sex offenders into a “tiered” treatment program, in which participants start out in a “total confinement facility” at twice the cost of the original program. The state awarded Correct Care Solutions a $24 million contract to provide housing and treatment at the Texas Civil Commitment Center (TCCC) in Littlefield, formerly a failed private prison known as the Bill Clayton Detention Facility. Correct Care had just acquired GEO Care, a subsidiary of the GEO Group – a for-profit prison firm whose 2009 abandonment of the Littlefield facility had almost forced the…

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Questionable Commitments | Cato Institute

Civil commitment is the legal practice of holding individuals who suffer from severe mental illness so that they may receive treatment. Even within its traditional bounds, civil commitment was problematic enough. But in recent years, civil commitment has expanded significantly. Now, young people who commit a sexual offense early in their lives stand to be stigmatized, and detained, indefinitely. Crucially this is not because they have violated a law with a particularly harsh penalty attached. It’s because the state believes that they might break the law again. In this essay, Galen Baughman challenges the practice of civil commitment, and particularly its extension to sex offenders, as an unwarranted de facto extension of our criminal justice system – one with far too few protections for the accused.

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The Rise of the Preventative State | Cato Institute

Pre-crime isn’t science fiction, says Eric Janus. It’s our system of civil commitment. The problems are simply stated: Civil commitment moves from punishing a specific act toward punishing a type of person. This approach to justice rarely works out in practice, as members of marginalized groups typically find that they can’t possibly clear their own names. One result is bad public policy about sexual violence, because evidence-based treatment for the sexually violent is disfavored in comparison to simply punishing them for the next crime it’s thought they might commit. The rule of law suffers as well, because of the highly…

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Let’s Stamp Out Perversion | Cato Institute

Amanda Pustilnik draws a sharp contrast between civil commitment as it is practiced for the severely mentally ill — and the utterly different system that has been imposed on sex offenders. The latter system she terms “a perversion,” one that both destroys civil liberties and stigmatizes the treatment of genuinely mentally ill individuals. Genuine civil commitment for the mentally ill does exist, but it is used only in emergencies, it is of very limited duration, and its judicial process puts the patient’s best interests first. Meanwhile, sexual violence remains a genuine and pressing social problem, but it does not take…

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Our Deeply Flawed Civil Commitment System | Cato Institute

The inherent problems in sexual offender civil commitment should concern all citizens. Mr. Baughman’s article addresses a number of concerns worthy of exploration. There is no question that some sex offenders are truly dangerous and that the public is understandably concerned. As currently practiced, however, civil commitment rarely delivers on erstwhile promises of either public safety or rehabilitation. This is despite the often well-intentioned staff members of these facilities. The author’s position is that if society is to employ civil commitment, we need to do so in accordance with the highest scientific standards and free of political pressure. We are not…

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Bad Deals: Look What Happens When an Innocent Man is Labeled a “Sexually Violent Predator” | Reveal News

On a stifling afternoon in the summer of 1996, Rodney Roberts pleaded guilty to a kidnapping. He had never met the victim, let alone held her against her will. Yet this is what he told the judge in the cramped Essex County courtroom. His court-appointed defender had convinced him his other choice was life in prison. The state of New Jersey, Roberts was told, had overwhelming evidence that he had raped an East Orange teenager. Plead guilty to the lesser charge of kidnapping, he remembers public defender Charles Martone saying through the bars of the court’s packed holding cell, and…

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New Rules Spark Uprising at California Pre-Crime Facility | Prison Legal News

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that persons held in involuntary psychiatric commitment facilities are not prisoners and cannot be subjected to punitive treatment. Matt Clarke at Prison Legal News paints a vivid portrait of how prison-like these not-a-prison prisons really are. Protests met California officials when they began to make Coalinga State Hospital look even more like a prison.  On January 14, 2018, about 400 to 500 civilly committed sex offender “patients” met in the common area of California’s Coalinga State Hospital to protest a stringent new rule that went into effect that day.  The rule banned the possession of…

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When Junk Science About People Labeled “Sex Offenders” Infects the Supreme Court | NYT Op-Doc

American criminal justice policy for sex-related crimes is built on a myth.  The U.S. Supreme Court green lighted draconian restrictions that relegate persons with former sex-related convictions to a permanent pariah status based on the erroneous findings that they commit new crimes at an astronomical rate.  Watch filmmaker, lawyer, activist David Feige unravel this “frightening and high” myth in a compelling NYT OP-doc.  “A ‘Frightening’ Myth About Sex Offenders” by David Feige. This month the Supreme Court will have a rare opportunity to correct a flawed doctrine that for the past two decades has relied on junk social science to justify…

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Speak Up Minnesota

The spark is catching. Read this powerful organizing appeal from a person living behind the walls in Minnesota and learn what Just future is doing to help. At Just Future Project we believe that the people closest to the problem are closest to the solution, but furthest from power and opportunity. We are trying to balance the scales by connecting advocates living on the registry or working from the inside with tools to create change.  Our hats off to Cyrus Gladden for writing this compelling call to action. The appeal below is written to other people living behind the walls…

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