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FL: A look inside Florida Civil Commitment Center life: Pesci v. Budz

[ – 8/21/19]

James Pesci is a detainee at the Florida Civil Commitment Center (FCCC), a for-profit facility that houses sex offenders involuntarily committed under Florida’s Involuntary Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act. Pesci is not a prisoner; like the other roughly 600 residents of FCCC, he has already served out his prison sentence. Instead, he is involuntarily committed because the State has determined that he is a “sexually violent predator” likely to engage in future “acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility for long-term control, care, and treatment.”

For many years, Pesci published a monthly newsletter, Duck Soup, which frequently excoriated FCCC’s staff, sex offender treatment program, and conditions of confinement. Pesci envisioned Duck Soup as “the uncensored pulse of the compound,” dedicated to exposing “corruption at FCCC.”

In November 2010, Budz issued a new policy, which declared “that Duck Soup was now contraband.

In July 2010—a few months before Duck Soup was banned—Pesci filed a pro se§ 1983 complaint against Budz alleging that the 2009 printing restrictions on … Duck Soup violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The district court concluded that the 2009 policy did not violate Pesci’s constitutional rights and granted summary judgment in favor of Budz.

Read the full Pesci v. Budz


Join the discussion

  1. Bo

    So, where can we get his new writings, the “Instigator”. Is there a way to see his publications?

  2. Eric

    So how many drunk driving offenses can a person in Florida receive before the state psychiatrists rule the person is a habitual offender and incapable of rehabilitation? It is obviously more than two.

  3. Bean

    As a former resident of FCCC, I can confirm that it is really all about extending the prison sentences for people who have already served their time. Residents are able to get about 5 to 6 hours of treatment per week. Yet they are forced to be there 24/7. The conditions of confinement are, in many ways, worse that what they endured while in prison. The majority are forced to live in “open-bay” dorms without any privacy, almost constant noise, and a very prison like environment. Most of the officers are hell-bent on being as obnoxious and punitive as possible. There are far fewer recreational opportunities than were available in prison. Most prisons have a large “rec” yard where inmates can play football, soccer, baseball, volleyball, basketball, horseshoes, and can run. FCCC has a small, mostly blacktop, yard that is barely larger than a basketball court. There is almost no green space. Most indoor communal spaces are “multi-purpose” which means that it can be used only for one type of activity at a time. So, finding space to do anything is a problem. The facility is actually a jail that they simply repurposed as a civil commitment center.
    Even the Florida legislature has admitted that the civil commitment law is a “stop gap” measure. (The penalties were dramatically increased in the late 1990’s. The legislature, apparently, did not like that those who committed crimes before the increase in penalties would not serve as much time in prison, so they created the civil commitment law. This is the “stop-gap”.
    While most of the clinical staff are really trying their best, they are forced to either take a back seat to the FCCC Administration’s and Security Staff’s punitive policies or risk being fired.
    Residents, who are there for treatment, instead end up with an incredible amount of distracting stress due to inadequate space, facilities, food, privacy, and peace, that they get a tiny fraction of the potential benefit of treatment. Your tax dollars at work, folks. The program could be a huge benefit to society, but, instead of doing it properly, the law makers have done as little as possible (even to the point to creating special exemptions that allow them to not give the same benefits that all other mental health commitments receive in Florida). In short, it is nothing more that a way to secure votes and a money grab by the for profit corporation the is able to provide enough kickbacks to secure the operational contract.

    • Diana

      How long were you there?

    • Cj

      Yeah, the one thing I do know is that it’s TRUE, it was a political move for gain. I am a FORMER sex offender. I was convicted for what I did and what i didnt do. Look, I get it and hopefully other offenders will too. Keep your dam hands to yourself. I’ve been crime free 22 years and I work every day to keep that way. I had excellent sex offender therapy on the street folks. I know people wont be happy to hear this but IT WORKS! Was it easy? Nope, my therapist was a Ahole! But I knew all along he was dam good at this. I listened, I learned. Hardest part was listening to myself and the victim impact and after all, guess what? I too was a victim long ago. Here is something to think about, if you kill a child and when you get out of prison you can have children, be around your children. I am now married and my wife has 3 boys who were all assaulted by a resident who actually is at the center today. How she and I came together and formed a relationship is one for the books! Long story short, this center is nothing more than a waste of tax payer money. Typical political vote for me ploy and I’ll do this, just like the registration process that I’m currently under. It solves absolutely nothing. What are we to do to prevent assaults? Be aware at all times, watch your children. I was on the local news a few years ago and questioned the same as above and I responded the same. A neighbor was then interviewed and she responded to my answer, “that’s not good enough”. What? Watching your children is not good enough???? I see it every day, kids walking alone here and there…ALONE. I always shake my head with disbelief. I know I’ll get many hate comments and I understand but I have the experience and my belief is that much of this bad behavior comes from lack of education. Acting on impulse comes from not thinking first, concentration on thinking first, then act or not is a large factor of decisions. Will this bad behavior ever come to an end? Unfortunately I dont think so. Long term extra prison time is not the answer. Probation can handle supervision and attending sex offender therapy and biggest of all, paying for it out of one’s own pocket for years does work for many. It did for me! I also believe killing children and selling illegal drugs to them should be seriously looked at as well, just my opinion. ✌

  4. David Kennerly

    Keep in mind that these people are not being “punished” by being in these civil commitment programs; they are being “held in the least restrictive means possible” while still possessing their civil liberties (except the one that lets them walk out the door).

    Banning a publication which criticizes the institution which is illegally holding them, written by detainees who possess freedom of expression, is clearly a very bad constitutional call and the judge who delivered that decision is a very bad judge. Such egregious injustices are being meted out across the U.S. as well as here on the Subducting West Coast on a rather grand scale (more than a thousand at California State Hospital, Coalinga).

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