Updates

Updates

Bed Space – Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR) Expansion Project

The original Burkeville facility included 300 beds. The Virginia General Assembly approved the double-bunking of 150 cells at VCBR in 2011, which increased their total capacity to 450 beds. “Construction has begun on the expansion of VCBR in June of 2018, which will increase bed capacity to 632 residents.” (From Daniel Carey, “Sexually Violent Predator Referrals, Commitments and bed utilization forecasts for FY 2019- fy 2024,” DBHDS (Nov. 15, 2018) @pp 2). 632 beds (according to the Secretary of Health and Human Resources) minus 450 current beds at VCBR equals an additional 182 beds added through the VCBR expansion. Michael…

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N.J. psychologist surrenders state license after alleged relationship with sex offender patient

By Chris Megerian/Statehouse Bureau Natalie Barone, left, and Michael Bordo. TRENTON — A top state psychologist who was fired after allegedly having an affair with a sex offender patient surrendered her license to practice today, records show. The consent agreement, which described the allegations as “boundary violations,” allows psychologist Natalie Barone to avoid a public hearing for now. However, the State Board of Psychological Examiners could still decide to investigate the case. Barone, 37, was previously responsible for about 100 staff members providing treatment to 426 civilly committed sex offenders, currently housed at two Avenel facilities. The Department of Human Services fired…

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Organizational Positions Against Pre-Crime Preventative Detention

Formal Positions Against Pre-Crime Preventative Detention

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Virginia Deaths in Custody

Source: Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services Discharge Report From 01/01/2003-03/02/2020. These numbers seem suspiciously low compared to other death-in-custody data we have reviewed. Specifically in Kansas, 260 individuals are indefinitely detained and the facility has 45 deaths to date, whereas in Virginia we have 460 people currently committed and 15 deaths. Because Virginia has much broader use of conditional release, we suspect they are artificially decreasing their death statistics. While the discharge report generated by DBHDS said that it was “death in hospital,” Virginia Center for Behavioral Health (VCBR) is in fact not a…

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Virginia Center for Behavioral Health Breaks Ground on Facility Expansion

By Aziza Jackson. August 17, 2018 BURKSVILLE, Va. — The Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR) has broken new ground on an expansion project for their Burkesville facility. HDR, an international design and architecture firm based in Omaha, Neb., signed on to design the expansion and renovation of the facility in 2013. The firm provided programming, planning, design, construction documents and construction-phase services for the project, and worked closely with construction company Balfour Beatty, ADTEK Engineering, Valley Engineering, GovSolutions and Stanton Fire Protection. The forthcoming facility features expanded treatment facilities and a 258-bed housing expansion, to include 185,000 square feet…

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Governor Explains Why the Minnesota Sex Offender Program Is a Crock

Defending the constitutionality of civil confinement, Mark Dayton exposes the fallacy at its core. By Jacob Sullum | 6.25.2015 11:02 AM Last week U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled that the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), which civilly confines people after they have completed their criminal sentences, violates the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton disagrees, but his defense of the program exposes the fallacy at its core. “It’s really impossible to predict whether or not [sex offenders] are at risk to reoffend,” Dayton says. “So the more protection you can give to the public, as far as I’m concerned, given their…

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“Release American Citizens from Double Jeopardy Punishment”

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…

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Shadow Prisoner Stabbed 14 Times at VCBR Facility

By John Powers. Jun 12, 2020 On the day of June 11, 2020 a person being held at the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation (VCBR) stabbed a fellow inmate fourteen times during their line up for their daily pill calls. The victim was stabbed behind the ear and back repeatedly. The victim was soon rushed to a nearby hospital to get stitches. Piedmont Regional Jail has the alleged assailant being held on assault by wounding with stab cut wounds and he is also charged with a misdemeanor according to officer D Wade.  The alleged assailant was transferred from VCBR to…

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In Memoriam: Lives Lost While Imprisoned After Their Release Date in Minnesota

The people who run these programs pretend that they are for “treatment.”  For at least 60 people who were sent to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program it was a death sentence.  The following names, placed here in memoriam, are a stark illustration of the false promise of therapeutic intent.  The names listed remind us of why we work, today and every day, to abolish pre-crime preventative detention systems.

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Pre-Crime Preventative Detention Systems in 2018

United States Map Pre-Crime Preventative Detention Systems 2018 SOCCPN Annual Survey Data

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Obscure New Jersey “Treatment” Facility Has a Higher COVID-19 Death Rate Than Any Prison in the Country

By: Jordan Michael Smith. Jun 04, 2020 The detainees already completed their criminal sentences—but they are prevented from leaving for years. And with the coronavirus spreading, their lives are at risk. This story was produced in collaboration with Type Investigations. With its innocuous name, the Special Treatment Unit (STU) sounds like a hospital. It’s a building in Avenel, New Jersey, housing 441 “residents,” as it calls them. It has what state officials have described as a “comprehensive treatment program” with cognitive behavioral therapy delivered by mental health experts. But the STU is actually a prison in all but name—it’s run by the…

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U.S. sex offense policy: The next “surveiller et punir”

Presentation summary The legacy of the 40-year-long sex panic in the U.S. is a vast regime of draconian penalties and “management” of “sex offenders” – a category including anyone from consensual teen lovers to armed rapists. Along with long prison sentences, the sex offender registry, and restrictions on residency, work, recreation, travel, and family life, a crucial element of the regime is “sex offender treatment.” Based on the notion that “sexual offending” is a unique, incurable disorder, which must be “contained” to protect the community, especially children, from predation, such treatment is anything but therapeutic. It is coercive, moralistic, often…

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“Death Sentence” — Across U.S., COVID-19 takes a hidden toll behind bars

COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in U.S. jails and prisons, but testing of inmates and staff remains spotty and many confirmed cases are going unreported. The resulting lack of data has deep implications for the fight against the virus, because prison outbreaks can move easily to surrounding communities. By PETER EISLER, LINDA SO, NED PARKER and BRAD HEATH Filed May 18, 2020, 11 a.m. GMT When COVID-19 began tearing through Detroit’s county jail system in March, authorities had no diagnostic tests to gauge its spread. But the toll became clear as deaths mounted. First, one of the sheriff’s jail commanders died; then, a deputy in a…

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Covid-19 Advocacy at ‘gulag:Moose Lake’

Advocates living behind the walls at gulag:Moose Lake have been speaking out about the acute danger to shadow prisoners in Minnesota from the novel coronavirus.  Here we have assembled 3 letters to Gov. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), 1 letter from advocates on the inside to facility staff in gulag:Moose Lake and St. Peter, and 1 memo from the facility administration pretending they’re doing something about the problem. No one deserves to die from Covid-19 behind bars.  Sadly, that is already happening because callous administrators and public officials have failed to act to protect this vulnerable population.  Jails and prisons have been…

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Texas Coronavirus Advocacy Letter to Gov. Abbott

Amid the public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, Just Future Project united with a broad coalition of civil rights and human rights organizations to call on Texas Governor Greg Abbott to reverse his dangerous reduction of protections for people in the criminal legal system. Read the letter below. Download the PDF file .

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Coronavirus kills one, infects another, in Florida sex offender treatment center

  Residents of the Arcadia facility are held in confinement under the Jimmy Ryce Act, which forces sex offenders into treatment if experts believe they’re likely to commit another sex crime. The Florida Civil Commitment Center is a treatment center in Arcadia for sex offenders held involuntarily by the Jimmy Ryce Act. [Google Earth] By Kathryn Varn Published Yesterday A resident in a sex offender treatment facility has died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. Another resident is sick with the disease. The outbreak is taking place in Florida’s Civil Commitment Center, a privately run treatment facility in DeSoto…

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Can Effective Mental Health Treatment Exist In A Criminal Justice System Driven By Profit?

Josh Gravens, now 27, was sentenced to the Bill Clayton Detention Center in Littlefield, Texas when he was 13. He was told to expect a jail stay of nine months, but he spent 42 months under the supervision of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. He was not fully released until he was 21, having been detained for years without cause, he says. “I never even had a write-up,” he says. “Behavior was never the issue. Grades were never an issue. We engaged willingly and aggressively.” In Texas, the state contracts corporate prisons to jail juvenile offenders. Compensation per prisoner escalates…

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Civil Commitment: ‘Excuse me, your honor, some judicial maturity, please?’ (Part III)

Part I   Part II   Part III BY EARL YARINGTON  Whether we are addressing the war on drugs, violence, gun violence, child sex abuse, or civil commitment, our lawmakers don’t want to fix these problems. It is understandable and necessary to protect children and the vulnerable, but the data show that our lawmakers, our justice system is failing badly but still moving at lightning speed to permanently punish and lock up anyone whose sexual interest is determined to be abnormal. For many in law enforcement, the intention was to protect children, but our ignorance of sexuality and the serious study of it…

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Civil commitment and the courts’ historic march toward genocide (Part II)

Part I   Part II   Part III BY EARL YARINGTON Part II will take a different turn, as I wait for sources to respond to me on court decisions. I ask the reader to take this long and troubling trip with me. I need to break with the fine form and clarity of journalism. There will be a  Part III. My apologies, but sometimes journalism must be comprehensive at the cost of being concise. Here we will address the troubling myth-building those in power do for personal gain, and the danger mischaracterization and misunderstanding bring to jeopardizing our democratic republic. Such could…

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Civil Commitment and the destruction of human rights (Part 1)

Part I   Part II   Part III BY EARL YARINGTON · DECEMBER 30, 2019  A few years ago, I wrote an article on a blog. It was more an experiment, a testing ground. The website was “Criticl.” It was mainly a political site that supported the legalization of marijuana and of Bernie Sanders becoming president. I wrote that there are two ways our government (local, state, federal) is attempting to limit the Constitution: the fear of terrorism and child pornography law. It may be understandable to hate terrorists and sex offenders, but, you know, the devil is in the details. Who exactly is a…

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Inside NACDL: Sex Offender Laws Run Amok

Author: Norman Reimer When America’s politicians latch on to a “law and order” issue, watch out! Their capacity to demagogue an issue, exploit public fears, and enact draconian legislation is limitless. We saw this with the war on drugs1 and the war on terrorism. And now we see it with the proliferation of sex offender laws that impose far-reaching collateral consequences. They are often based on myth and emotion, unsupported by empirical research and broadly applied, and are indifferent to the facts of the particular case. Last month, The Champion reported that NACDL’s recent affiliate survey disclosed that 58 percent…

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Going For Wins in Sexually Violent Predator Cases

By Allen Frances, MD July 8, 2011 During the past year, I have been involved as an expert witness for the defense in 14 SVP cases (tried in California, Washington, and Iowa). My role has been to clarify what is meant by the wording of the Paraphilia section in DSM-IV. And it certainly does badly need explaining. The DSM-IV Paraphilia section is written far too imprecisely to meet the high standard of precision needed in a legal context. This is because DSM-IV was written primarily for clinicians– not for lawyers, judges, forensic evaluators, and juries. I wish we had done…

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How The Use of Improper Statistics and Unverified Data Corrupts The Judicial Process In Sex Offence Cases (2018)

This is an excellent overview from the 30,000 foot view, of the problems that continue to fuel draconian and unscientific sex-related laws.  As Cucolo & Perlin note, “judicial decisions involving sexual offender[s]…rely improperly on inaccurate and underdeveloped statistics as well as unverified and outdated information.”  This article specifically addresses pre-crime preventative detention laws, calling them explicitly punitive.  And concludes by exploring the principle of “therapeutic jurisprudence” which may offer an alternative to unending and unthinking punishment.       More about the authors Heather Ellis Cucolo Heather is an adjunct professor and current facilitator of the dual degree program between…

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Authorities retaliate against advocates

The system routinely punishes dissent voiced by those under their control. Advocates who speak out against injustice in the criminal legal system are especially vulnerable to retaliation by unscrupulous prosecutors, judges, and others in positions of official power over their lives or the lives of their loved ones. Nowhere is this more true than in systems of pre-crime preventative detention where a persons indefinite detention may be prolonged at the whim of the authorities based on nothing more than subjective impression, rather than any concrete overt act. This brazenly unethical behavior is another obstacle to advocating for, and securing the…

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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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Should we push candidates to reform the Sex Offense Registry?

Blank & Pink sent out a “2020 Election Survey” in vol. 9 issue 6 of their newsletter (p.25) One of 4 questions solicited opinions from members of the Black & Pink family living behind the walls on whether sex-related offense policy should be a focus of their political advocacy during this presidential election cycle.  YES, and here is why: 

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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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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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Vladimir Bukovsky, 76, exile who exposed use of psychiatric hospitals to jail dissidents.

Critics of “sex offender civil commitment” laws often liken them to the Soviet practices of imprisoning dissidents in psychiatric hospitals. The man who was credited for exposing this soviet practice, Vladimir K. Bukovsky, died recently at age 76. We wanted to remember him and remind Just Futurists just how alike these practices truly are.

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Update on the Galen Baughman Civil Commitment trial

by Charlie Clark, September 4, 2019 5:27 PM Our Man in Arlington. A culture-clash of a trial will resume in late September in Arlington Circuit Court. The scantly reported-on civil procedure involves the disturbing topic of predatory sexual behavior and the Virginia laws intended to protect potential victims. The trial, preliminaries for which I attended Aug. 26, involves an Arlington family eager to spring a son from an open-ended incarceration they feel the state is pursuing to make a statement against a gay man. Galen Baughman, 35, a graduate of H-B Woodlawn Secondary program who studied opera at Indiana University,…

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Patrick Hope column: Virginia’s sexually violent predator laws have gone too far

By: Patrick Hope Sept 29, 2019 The “lock ’em up and throw away the key” era of criminal justice is over. Virginians have reassessed their views on criminal justice to better address mass incarceration weighed against costs and the likelihood to reoffend. Policies ripe for reform include: resentencing prisoners who were convicted as youth; repealing mandatory minimums; legalizing marijuana; abolishing the death penalty; ending solitary; reinstating parole; ending cash bail; and creating alternatives to incarceration. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has a strong track record of criminal justice reform. But there’s one enforcement aspect his office needs to re-examine: the…

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Sex Offenders Locked Up on a Hunch

The essence of the American criminal justice system is reactive, not predictive: You are punished for the crime you committed. You can’t be punished simply because you might commit one someday. You certainly can’t be held indefinitely to prevent that possibility. And yet that is exactly what is happening to about 5,000 people convicted of sex crimes around the country. This population, which nearly doubled in the last decade, has completed prison sentences but remains held in what is deceptively called civil commitment — the practice of keeping someone locked up in an institution for months, years or even decades for…

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Prominent voices chime in on Twitter

Lots of folks are talking about the abusive, homophobic, and blatantly unconstitutional use of pre-crime preventative detention laws in Virginia. Here we have aggregated some prominent voices expressing their outrage on Twitter. ⁦.⁦@MarkHerringVA⁩ has made exceptionally strong statements on ways to improve our criminal justice system. Civil commitment, however, is an area where Va law and enforcement is an injustice and a violation of civil rights. Here’s a prime example: https://t.co/7kVW1wDSIg — Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) August 24, 2019 All the power to you for trying to undo this great injustice https://t.co/SPw4aKEkWr — Arax (@araxkl_arax) September 20, 2019 Another injustice. Help…

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Letter to the editor in WaPo on reentry for people living on the registry

Persons with sex-related convictions are often deliberately excluded from the reentry picture.  This LTE points that out to the Washington Post and argues that everyone is entitled to a just future.  Kudos to Kirsten Darby for using this important advocacy tool to register her perspective as a member of the community, with the newspaper’s editor. I read with great interest the September 3 article [in the Washington Post] by Tracy Jan documenting the legal hurdles of those formerly incarcerated. I’ve led a faith based prison pen pal ministry for many years and have seen first hand the struggles these men…

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passport

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL TO GERMANY UNDER IML PASSPORTS

This is a very interesting video about a man that left the United States while on probation to Permanently live in Germany as his new home to live as a free person.  He shows what the new International Megan’s Law marked passports look like and talks about the reasons that they are not a problem for entering Germany.  Everyone should watch this video.  Those currently on the sex offender registry in the United States and those that think they will never ever have to be on the sex offender registry.  Everyone that cares about the future of the United States…

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Punishment Without Crime

⁦.⁦@MarkHerringVA⁩ has made exceptionally strong statements on ways to improve our criminal justice system. Civil commitment, however, is an area where Va law and enforcement is an injustice and a violation of civil rights. Here’s a prime example: https://t.co/7kVW1wDSIg — Patrick Hope (@HopeforVirginia) August 24, 2019     Philip Fornaci and Roger Lancaster followed up their Aug 24, 2019 WaPo article with the following message after the jury verdict, that we are including here as a preface.  Their message originally appeared on the ncrj web site: On October 17, 2019, after a two-week civil trial in Arlington County, Virginia, a…

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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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