ACTION ALERT appeal from NARSOL’s Paul Shannon

Another request for your help from supporters of the civil commits at Moose Lake New DOC threats against a leader of the non-violent protests against civil commitment facility at Moose Lake, Minnesota First Daniel Wilson and a dozen others civil commits were placed in the disciplinary unit at Moose Lake without any due process for their protests against Minnesota’s civil…

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Skenazy on civil commitment; quotes Molnar of NARSOL’s affiliate TX Voices

By Lenore Skenazy . . . For many men serving time for committing sex offenses in Texas, their prison term never really ends—even if they complete their sentence. That’s because they’re required to enter a live-in mental health facility before returning to society. That facility—in Littlefield, Texas—is actually a former maximum security prison in the middle of a dirt field. “It…

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NARSOL chair urges, “Support Moose Lake protesters and civil commitment protests.”

By Paul Shannon . . . How can NARSOL support the courageous men on hunger strike at the draconian Moose Lake civil commitment facility in Minnesota? How can we show solidarity with their 70 supporters, some of whom made a car caravan around the facility several weeks ago, and who on July 18 held an amazing public rally at the…

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Protesters at Moose Lake demand end to civil commitment

By Teri Cadeau . . . MOOSE LAKE, Minn. — Loud honks were heard Sunday, July 11, as protesters gathered outside of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program Moose Lake facility to support the residents in a hunger strike. According to members of organizing groups Ocean and End MSOP, around 40 detainees inside the facility started a hunger strike on July…

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State cannot continue incarceration without sufficient evidence

By Christian M. Wade . . . BOSTON — More than 120 “dangerous” sex offenders have been released under a 2008 Supreme Judicial Court ruling that keeps them from being locked up if at least two “qualified medical examiners” determine they’re no longer a threat, according to state data. The state Department of Correction currently oversees about 130 sexually dangerous prisoners…

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Civil commitment: Treatment or extended punishment?

By J.D. Tuccille . . . Sold as a means of giving potentially dangerous sex offenders treatment for their conditions while indefinitely confining them, civil commitment programs invite skepticism about their motivation and effectiveness. While courts have signed off on the practice, keeping people locked up after they’ve served their prison sentences raises sticky legal and ethical questions. Now a…

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Eighth Circuit decision opens path to continued constitutional challenge of MN sex offender program

By Chris Serres . . . A protracted case challenging the constitutionality of Minnesota’s system for treating sex offenders outside prison has gained new life after a federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled that claims contesting the program’s unusual conditions of confinement can move forward. In a decision released Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals…

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Civil Commitment Pretends Prisoners Are Patients

By Jacob Sullum . . .  “It was my understanding that I was to do the treatment, then be released,” says Mike Whipple, who recently participated in a 14-day hunger strike at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program’s facility in Moose Lake. “Twelve years later, I’m still here, doing the same thing, over and over and over.” So far the civil…

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The hidden truth that could end civil commitment

By Steve Yoder . . . In late 2006, a public defender went before a Napa County judge to argue for his client’s freedom. Rex McCurdy, a 49-year-old man, had been detained for seven years at Atascadero State Hospital under a 1995 California law authorizing “civil commitment” of people who have been convicted of sex offenses, a practice that keeps them…

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Virginia’s problems with its civil commitment program: too many to count

By Patrick Hope . . . 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…

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