We begin this Article by sharing something about our past legal practice careers, as we believe that is so relevant to the topic that we focus on in this Article. When Michael L. Perlin was a rookie Public
Defender in Trenton, New Jersey, in the early 1970s, he regularly visited the Menlo Park Diagnostic Center where some of his clients—those who had been found, in the phrase used then, to be “repetitive and compulsive” sex offenders—were housed.
When Heather Ellis Cucolo was a rookie Public Defender in Newark, New Jersey, in the late 2000s, she regularly visited the Special Treatment Unit (“STU”), attached to the state prison in Avenel, New Jersey, where some of her clients—now classified as sexually violent predators—were housed.
When the two of us talked about our experiences during the latter years, we were stunned at the similarities that we found: almost no meaningful treatment of any sort, prison-like conditions, and a population comprised of a minority of people whom we agreed posed a significant danger to the
community but a majority of whom had committed crimes involving no personal contact. Full Paper (pdf)
NOTE: Dr. Ira Ellman (ACSOL Board Member) will be a speaker at the ACSOL Conference June 14/15 in Los Angeles.