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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APA Opposes Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders After Prison

APA’s Board of Trustees approved a task force report on sexually dangerous offenders at its meeting last month in San Diego recommending that psychiatrists vigorously oppose sexual predator laws. Opposing such laws is necessary “to preserve the moral authority of the profession and ensure continuing societal confidence in the medical model of civil commitment,” states the report. The report was written by the Task Force on Sexually Dangerous Offenders, a component of APA’s Council on Psychiatry and Law, which endorsed the report before it went to the Board for action. Paul Appelbaum, M.D., was chair of the council when the…

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Some Virginia sex offenders held long after sentence up

By Dena Potter, Associated Press Nov 19, 2011, 12:15pm RICHMOND, Va. — Having already served their sentences, hundreds of Virginia sex offenders are held behind bars for months — some for years — while waiting to see whether they’ll be sent to a psychiatric center indefinitely, an Associated Press review has found. Judges acting on the requests of both prosecutors and defense attorneys routinely shrug off the legal deadline for making that decision, leaving the inmates in limbo well beyond their designated punishment and without access to the very kind of treatment the state says they may need. Attorneys and…

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