For Some Convicted Sex Offenders, Finishing Their Sentences Doesn’t Mean They Get To Go Home

Source: 5/22/23

Several states are civilly committing sex offenders when their prison terms end. The Bureau of Justice Statistics may soon begin collecting data about the practice—and finally shed some light on how widespread and effective it is.

Looking to confine sexual offenders deemed a continuing risk to the public, lawmakers in 20 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Congress, passed laws around the turn of the millennium allowing for the involuntary civil commitment of these convicted offenders when their prison terms ended. But nearly a quarter of a century later, there is no national data on the practice. 

No federal office has ever gathered information on these programs to keep track of the number of people committed, costs or efficacy, said Wanda Bertram, spokesperson for the Massachusetts-based Prison Policy Initiative, but that may change soon if, as a new report by her organization states, the Bureau of Justice Statistics begins collecting data on the programs next month.

According to a report issued by the Prison Policy Initiative, it is estimated that more than 6,000 people convicted of sex offenses who completed their prison terms are now locked up in civil commitment facilities. It isn’t clear when any will be released, according to the report.

Emma Peyton Williams, author of the report, said that the civil commitment programs are not transparent about the numbers of prisoners they hold or the kinds of treatment they offer. It’s challenging to keep track of how many people the states are holding because there isn’t a central database, she said.

“Reportedly, the Bureau of Justice Statistics intends to begin collecting data about indefinite post-sentence ‘civil’ confinements in June of 2023. Until that happens, it’s only possible to get aggregated counts of how many people are civilly committed—nothing like the individual-level information prison systems are expected to provide in the service of transparency and accountability,” the report states. “This is true across the U.S., as civil commitment facilities are housed under different agencies from state to state, which makes it exceedingly difficult to measure the full scope of these systems on a national level.”

The Bureau of Justice Statistics could not immediately confirm that it plans to begin collecting data on the programs.

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Hmmmm! 🤔”Finishing Their Sentences Doesn’t Mean They Get To Go Home”, What’s that supposed to mean, the punishment for the offender continues after they’re done with their sentence?

So, Ben Wolf, the former ACLU lawyer, is arguing that, rather than putting them in civil commitment, they should be forcibly drugged with anti-androgens, a.k.a. “chemical castration,” to “dull their impulses.” Yeah, no. They should be released and compensated for their unlawful imprisonment, that’s what should happen.