How many are held under “sex offender civil commitment” laws?

Data is important for advocacy.  But shadow prisons are so shrouded in secrecy that no one actually knows how many people are locked away in these “treatment” facilities in the U.S.  Here is a brief look at what we know (or don’t) and why the number that you often see cited is wrong.

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Civil Commitment in New York is Worse Than Prison

Shadow prisoners held for “treatment” at CNYPC in Marcy, NY experience conditions of confinment more explicitly punitive and restrictive than those in the actual prison system in New York. A new letter to state elected officials from people living behind the walls describes the desperation that pervades systems of pre-crime preventative detention in the U.S.  Ever wonder why we at Just Future use the term “shadow prisoners” to refer to people in so-called “sex offender civil commitment” facilities?  Read this letter.

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Letter from men at Central New York Psychiatric Center — effectively stand up for their rights and demand change

The shadow prisoners at the Gulag in Marcy, New York are formally demanding better treatment.  The following letter was sent by a committee of men who are organizing themselves at the Central New York Psychiatric Center.  Just Future applauds their concise articulation of concrete demands coupled with clear citations to the statutory language being violated.  This letter might serve as an example for the people in the other 20 systems of pre-crime preventative detention on how to effectively stand up for their rights and demand change. To: Director DEBORAH McCULLOCH c/o JEFFERY NOWICKI August 1, 2019 From: SOTP RESIDENT LIAISON…

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Homophobic Outrage in Virginia

Last month, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) succeeded in his aim of incarcerating a gay man indefinitely for sending text messages. AG Herring maintains the man – who has never been accused or arrested for any act of violence – is a “Sexually Violent Predator.” Virgina’s treatment of Galen Baughman, now 36,has attracted protests from LGBT and criminal-justice groups, and at least one Virginia lawmaker. His case highlights the dangers of Orwellian civil-commitment laws that allow indefinite confinement of people to prevent possible future offenses.

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Punished Enough?

Downstate confronts questions that date to the time of Plato and the Old Testament: How ought we punish acts that are repugnant to society? Are there lawbreakers who are truly unforgivable? Are there offenses that demand perpetual condemnation, shunning, expulsion—banishment?   We once thought that we knew the answer to such riddles, at least in principle. For much of the twentieth century, jurists and lawmakers progressively tethered law to enlightened ideals: they eschewed punishment for the sake of punishment, embraced the idea of contingent redemption—rehabilitation—and imposed limits to punishment. But after the turmoil of the 1960s, American legal history diverged…

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