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What To Do With Violent Sex Offenders


If someone finishes a prison sentence for a violent sexual crime, but might still be dangerous, should he be released? How do you know if he’s dangerous? And when does it violate his rights to hold him?

On Monday, the Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a case that stems from these questions, a challenge to a Minnesota “civil commitment” program that holds people convicted of sexual crimes long after their sentences, ostensibly for treatment. Roughly 20 programs have arisen around the country since 1990, and at first they appeared similar to the hospitals for the mentally disabled on which they were modeled. When the Minnesota program was created in 1994, patients could bring their own computer or television or game console or aquarium, they could leave with a staff escort, visiting hours lasted eight hours a day, and if their families brought groceries, they could cook in the facility, according to the original lawsuit. In theory, once you completed treatment, you would be released.

But the laws governing the program were amended, and by 2012 the two Minnesota facilities, among others around the country, looked suspiciously like prisons. Surrounded by double-razor wire and bunked in two-man cells, more than 700 “patients,” as they were still called, now wore handcuffs and leg irons when transported. Visits were limited, personal computers and televisions were no longer allowed in, and strip searches became common.

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  1. Chris F

    This article points out what the task of SCOTUS is, and it isn’t just declare Minnesota’s commitment scheme unconstitutional.

    They need to take this case not to declare civil commitment unconstitutional all over, but to set the precedent of what must be reasonably expected of these programs to remain constitutional in a declaration of the Minnesota program being way over on the unconstitutional side.

    Similar to the Mendoza-Martinez factors that affect a law being punitive instead of regulatory, they need a standard set of question and benchmarks for civil commitment.

    I’m guessing it will entail a reasonable rate of releasing treated offenders, though I’ll doubt they’ll put a number on it. They really can’t. One state may only put the worst of the worst in and really not be able to release many while a state that tosses in first time offenders better have a pretty high and quick release rate.

    They also need to allow these people to be able to enjoy a majority of things a free person enjoys, and if it costs taxpayers more money than great. That money will force them to be more diligent about effective treatment and release options. Monitored internet, TV, first run movies, escorted off-site trips, monitored but frequent visitations, etc.

  2. mike r

    It is really mind boggling that a judge can claim that being locked up and deprived of your freedom isn’t considered to be a “fundamental liberty”. Come on, really. That kind of mentality is what is destroying this country. Either the judge is a complete ignoramus, or he is deliberately subverting the constitution.

    • Chris F

      Yep, makes NO sense. Let’s see…does it impact their ability to travel? Raise children? Associate with others? Freedom of speech with internet access? Privacy?

      It impacts ALL fundamental liberties.

  3. Gralphr

    The problem is calling one violent or predator is thrown around too easily. Molest a kid then youre a child molester, but commit the wrong sex act in said crime and youre labeled a sexually violent predator even if no threats pf violence were comitted. SCOTUS needs to force courts to come up with a better way to label someone a svp as well.

    • David Kennerly, the Model of Containment

      Not necessarily even the “wrong sex act” but any kind of sex, including things most wouldn’t even think of as “sexual”, with someone under fourteen.

      “Calumny” is the making of false and defamatory statements about someone in order to damage their reputation. Calumny is at the heart of modern sex laws and it has served its purpose brilliantly.

  4. AJ

    What I think will sink MN in this case is that they themselves say there are people they are holding who no belong there…and yet they keep them! How *any* court (are you listening 8th Circuit of Appeals??) can say that’s constitutional, is well beyond me. Also, how is it that MN is unable to rehabilitate and release, yet, per the article, NY and WI can and has? Explain that one, MN!

    • steve

      Aj said: “How *any* court (are you listening 8th Circuit of Appeals??) can say that’s constitutional, is well beyond me.”……

      “Frightening and high…80% recidivism”…that’s how.

      • AJ

        Yeah, that does kind of leave the State talking out of both sides of its mouth, doesn’t it? “steve, you’re no longer a threat to yourself or others–but we’re going to keep you ‘civilly comitted’ because you’re a threat to others.” Hmm…as I said the other day in reply to David Kennerly, I guess we’re both incurable and curable at the same time? Which is it, Big Daddy Government?

        • AlexO

          We’re all Schrottenberg offenders. Best to keep us in the box, just in case.

  5. FRegistryTerrorists

    The element of s*x must be completely removed from all of it. The very word “s*x” must be completely removed from all of it. That would help reduce the thinking and actions being driven by emotions instead of facts.

    It also makes sense. There is no reason to call someone a “violent predator” only if s*x was involved. Big government commits people for molesting children but not for shooting people?! That doesn’t make sense to anyone with a brain. And there is no reason to think that a person who commits a s*x offense needs “therapy”, polygraphs, etc. but a person who commits any other serious crime does not. That’s nothing but BS. Driven by U.S. citizens’ infantile and anti-factual obsession with s*x.

    • New Person

      As someone mentioned above… the 80% recidivism rate is why therapy is needed.

      • FRegistryTerrorists

        I suppose you are being sarcastic, I really can’t tell. Obviously, “80% recidivism” is and has always been a complete lie. But even if it were 80%, other crimes are that high, why no therapy for them? Why no therapy for crimes at 50%?

        The fact is that nearly all people know what is right and wrong. And if they didn’t, perhaps getting put in jail gave them a hint. People don’t need therapy, we simply need for them to not break laws. I don’t care how they do that.

        Having said that, I don’t think therapy is a bad thing. In fact, I think it can help about anyone in some way. It is a good idea to slow down, be introspective, and think fairly often. But I simply don’t see how anyone can think therapy is “needed” for a person who say, looks at child porn but not for say, someone who shoots someone with a gun. Doesn’t make ANY sense.

        And the forced “therapy” that is required by these criminal governments, including polygraphs, THAT has GOT to not only be useless, but be really counterproductive. I know it was in my case. I’ve got to think it is counterproductive in the huge majority of cases. Personally, I think it is about money. And if it is, that makes the people who support it real immoral, un-American, scumbag terrorists.

        • Gralphr

          What makes me curious is why do they force individuals in sex offender treatment to sit in a group settings and explain their whole life? You’d think having a one on one meeting would make the person open up more since they would feel comfortable telling everything without worrying about someone snickering. Some people were molested, or did crazy things in their past they may not mind the therapist knowing but don’t want others around them knowing, especially if it has nothing to do with the offense that brought them there. Its almost as if the goal is to shame them in front of others or something.

        • Lake County

          My therapist asked if I was comfortable with doing group therapy and I said no, so she let me have individual therapy. However that was 20 yrs ago.

        • AlexO

          I’m sure it’s pure cost. The groups I attended cost $50 and a single person ran up to a group of 12. I also had to do individuals which cost $90, and that was well below the California average of $160. And obviously it’s limited to 1-on-1.

          Group therapy could also be beneficial in ways 1-on-1 can’t. Like those same stories that you’re worried people might laugh at (vast majority will not in such a setting) may actually expose the person to a realization that they’re not the only one with such a story and it can help lift the weight of thinking you’re the only one (Prior to my crime and then group, I had a very different vision of what a sex offender was, much like the public. But being in a group setting helped me realize I’m not a special snowflake that made a mistake and its everyone else that’s a “real” sex offender with horns and all. This realization was actually very therapeutic for me).

          I think a combination of both is a good thing.

        • Gralphr

          Thats an interesting way to look at it. Years ago some time after marrying. Someone called CPS on me and said that I possibly was doing something inappropriate to my stepdaughter since I was registering as a sex offender.

          After investigating, CPS wanted to close the case immediately after having interviewed my stepdaughter and having a run of our home. However, some kid had been turned back over to his parents about a year earlier and they killed him, so CPS suggested I go to sex offender group therapy while they were investigating so that it would look good on paper (which they were paying for and probably the fact that I had never been ordered to attend such a group).

          It was quite a unusual experience and I couldn’t tell how anyone in that group found it benefiting. All of them were on probation or parole and all the woman did was belittle them, telling them they were deviants and that if they didn’t do things how she liked, she would contact their probation officers to recommend they be sent back to prison. She would also ask some of them personal questions pertaining to their cases which some of them did snicker when they found out things such one guy who molested a boy, but said he wasn’t gay and didn’t understand why he did what he did.

          The woman hated me with a passion though once she found out I didn’t have to pay a dime for said services out of my own pocket and that I wasn’t on probation or parole, so she had zero leverage or power to talk to me crazy. While I did find some things interesting about the program, my overall opinion was those guys were shamed and humiliated by calling them out and not disciplining people who laughed at their situation, and it should have been one on one meetings or at least meetings consisting people of similar offenses.

          After three sessions CPS told me I didn’t have to go anymore and they closed the case (which I made sure they gave me paperwork to show that I voluntarily went to the program).

        • steve

          I personally, got the most out of group meetings. If you really pay attention you learn a lot about yourself hearing others situations and life experiences.

        • Chris F

          Group was great for me. I started long before my case went before a judge.

          It was the best place to find out how lawyers act so helpful and concerned at first but during the 11th hour they do what they can to get you to take a bad deal and get off their back. I got a lot of good advise from group members about making sure the conditions didn’t blindside me. They help you work the system. Group helps to call out people that are using poor excuses and ignoring their real issues. Eventually, you become the one helping the others in the group and pay back the system. I’ve got no complaints.

    • David Kennerly, the Model of Containment

      I would love to persuade you to stop spelling “sex” as “s*x”, especially in comments sections of news pieces, even though I understand the rationale behind it, i.e. taking ironical note of the hysteria which surrounds sex. To my mind, though, it can be very easily misinterpreted as a sort of prudishness on one’s own part and can serve to reinforce rather than to challenge oppressive attitudes. In other words, I think that the way to clearly communicate your message is to free it from those puritanical artifacts by clearly modeling your principles in your own speech. This is a bit like EFL teachers being taught not to repeat English badly spoken by their pupils but to instead rephrase it as it should be spoken.

      Just a suggestion and it is, after all, a small matter (and I could be wrong). Otherwise, you’re terrific!

      • FRegistryTerrorists

        Yes, I’ve debated it back and forth myself. You are exactly right about the reason that I do spell it “s*x” also. But it has confused a significant number of people. Usually my accompanying message is rude enough that they don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, but not always.

        I’ve often thought of spelling it “SEX!!!!”, but the exclaimation points are nearly always not grammatically correct and could be confusing. I think I’ll start using “SEX”. Or perhaps “SEX (!!!!)” sometimes.

        Thank you for the constructive feedback.

        Also, I really appreciate your posts and find them to be very thoughtful. I always try to read them.

        As an aside, long ago I lost patience with the criminal regimes to correct their mistake of creating the Registries. I think they are too weak and stupid to do it. I hate them with a passion today and I’m going to make them pay. This is a war where a thousand different strategies need to be employed. In actual reality, as opposed to comments in print, I have made a huge impact. I see that increasing. F the people who support the Registries. I’m going to repay their harassment of my family, in multiples.

        • AJ

          @FRegistry Terrorists:
          You could always go Newlywed-Game-old-school and use “whoopee.”

  6. T

    What registrants need is help and getting fair, positive treatment and have their confidentiality be maintained for their safety instead of malicious treatment programs that are used for incrimination. Registrants whose crime involves children couldn’t get help and they’re mal treated the worst, due to the conditioning and manipulation of the public through the media and egotistic minds to the myth of high recidivism and junk science as proof that “sex offenders” are evil, dangerous and incurable for the things they’ve done.

    • Paul 2

      I have said this since 2000 If they worried about prevention instead of political persecution Everyone would be in a better place. I think it should start with kids when they are young to learn about the dangers of pornography and to address behavioral problems. Me and my brother were molested by a female baby-sitter at age 9-10 I don’t believe it is an excuse but it was a factor in me offending and it lowers boundaries. There should be a way for someone to get help for things without being shamed and a long prison sentence. I think the protection of the public outweighs the need for political persecution. The person should be punished and supervised and given a chance to reform out side of the public eye this will reduce people from not seeking help early and preventing a lot of offending.

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