This great country that we, the people, love to brag about being one of the most caring, democratic, freedom loving nation is  showing the world that we are anything but civilized. We are only sheep being led by wolves. 

While most of us go about our business of trying to survive, each and every day we leave the lawmakers and judges to design the life we are to live without question. On the one hand we condone the taking of an unborn life and on the other hand enforce sanctions on those who commit such a sin. We go to extremes placing one race above another, one class above the other, one gender above another, and then lump genders into transition and sexual orientation labels. If at this point we haven’t enforced enough cruelty let’s take men who have committed a sexual offense, plead guilty or went to trial and were found guilty and given a prison sentence. The sentence is the right one they ri received because they had committed a crime, some of them so heinous as to never be discussed again. These men finished their court ordered sentence only to find upon release they are going to be sent to a treatment center with other like offenders. When these men arrive at the treatment center, they find that what goes on is anything but mental or medical treatment. They have arrived at a CIVIL COMMITMENT CENTER  FOR SEX OFFENDERS. Many of these locations call themselves hospitals to hide what is really happening.

This newly arrived population has not received another court mandated sentence. They will begin serving an indeterminate time, a life sentence, until a psychologist and/or sex offender therapist determines that they no longer have an abnormal sexual problem or behavior problem. In other words, they have been ordered into the “Shadow Prisons” for crimes that they MIGHT commit at an unspecified time in the future. This secured confinement is a place for the sex offender classified as the “worst of the worst”. These offenders have gone from being a sex offender to a vicious sexually violent person or better know as a sexually violent predator

These men have just become a set of bodies for dollars. Where do the dollars come from to pay for the staffing, employer, therapist, and psychologist. The money is paid directly from your pocket, the taxpayer. Some of the units are staffed by state employees and overseen by the Department of Human Health and Services while others are maintained by for-profit prisons. In comparing these institutions, it does not seem to matter who the operators may be. The scenario is the same, indescribable acts     occur daily in this place known as CHAMBERS OF HORRORS. Everything from abuse, lack of any therapeutic treatment, respect, common courtesy, or medical care is applied to the inmate/patient.

The pain felt by the confined is nothing compared to the suffering felt by loved ones, friends, or anyone knowing someone locked away in a “Shadow Prison.” To be on the outside looking in and watching your loved one begin to devolve is hurtful, depressing, and almost unbearable. Especially when you find, as I have, there is no one watching the watchers nor is there anywhere or anyone that you can seek out to help with what is happening. Finding an attorney to handle a sex offender case for any reason is almost impossible. They do not want to offend the public, DA’s or judges who might someday aid in their ambitions. You will find yourself even unable to talk to friends once you mentioned those evil words “sex offender”. A hearing loss immediately develops and  your friend or even some family members will suddenly remember that they have to be somewhere else or if on the phone, another call is coming in that they have to take. I have a friend that I have known for most of my life, yet the mere  mention of civil commitment or sex offender sends her running.

The strangeness of all of this is that she has a brother who served ten years in prison and is on the sex offender registry for life for molesting two of his granddaughters. Who knows the reasons that he escaped civil commitment and my loved one did no? Needless to say, this friend who is/was like a sister to me is not a true friend and no longer feels like someone that I would dare to confide in. I hear in her voice when we speak, a tone of superiority and insensitivity. The only advice that I would not hesitate to give about speaking of your loved one is to only refer to them as an offender. The world is not ready to accept the fact that sexual offenders are redeemable and deserve second chances. I wish that I could tell you that strangers are more accepting, but I have found very few that are even willing to listen to you once you speak sex offender. They know even less about civil commitment centers and do care to learn of such and the mistreatment of the offenders.

The offender locked away from his family and support is not alone in his suffering. As a family member on the outside, there are few if any type of support group meetings or even acknowledgment of civilly committed sex offender support. The support lies mainly in joining an advocacy group and becoming a true participant. I have for the past ten years been in support of abolishing civil commitment as it now stands. There needs to be a place of true treatment and help for the offender. The ugly truth is that there are men who will not benefit from treatment or help due to mental disease or other reasons. They deserve the chance to try to become a better  man. Even they do not deserve to be abused or neglected.

For the family member on the outside, day-to-day life is lived in the method of the Elvis Presley  song titled “Edge of Reality”. There are few people that you can admit to that you have someone who is a sex offender in your family or worse locked in civil commitment. I once lived in fear of letting anyone know about my relationship to a sex offender. I held a position that was considered a circumspect and very moral type of employment. The day I retired I admitted to having a husband who was an offender. At last, I was free. I had spent over 30 years not being able to tell anyone of the daily problems  or difficult situations I incurred until I was sure that I could trust them. Even then I was careful in the way I discussed my life and the problems I was encountering. Life was not only lonely, but I was forced to live in isolation.

Getting through the pandemic was a piece of cake compared to the secret life I had been forced to live. My children were more fortunate than most as they were grown up and had homes of their own and children. They did not have to admit to being related to a sex offender. My husband has now been locked away for over 33 years on a 25-year sentence. His disappointment in not coming home was a large blow to the midsection for both of us. While he was incarcerated within the state prison he took responsibility for his actions, took all the classes offered for sexual therapy and still was labeled a Sexually Violent Person.

We are forced to live out our marital life with phone calls and on paper. What we say to one another is limited due to the possibility of recorded conversations and mail being read before being delivered. There can be very little of a sexual conversation due to the fear of what is being said to be used against one or the both of us. There can be no sexual teasing as there might be among free world couples for the same reason. During visits a guard sits nearby, and we are allowed to share a kiss at the beginning of the visit and at the end. We are allowed to hold hands as long as they are on the table.

It has been even harder to live with the fact that civil commitment has laws to help the offender make it home but there is no one to enforce civil commitment to adhere to these laws and rules thereby holding men until they die. I do not find it easy to live with the knowledge that I may never have my husband at home before one of us dies. We were early middle aged when this happened, and now we are in an older generation on the precipice of elderly. For us time is short. We have more years behind us than in front of us, 

You have my story but let me tell you one more of the type of abuse that is happening at these centers. I will not use the name of the individual for obvious reasons as retaliation is rampant for those who dare to speak out. 

ALEX

Alex has just arrived at the Civil Commitment Center. Upon completion of orientation, he begins to receive instructions as to what is expected from him. He will undergo  a polygraph and a Penile plethysmography (PPG). Neither of these tests are recognized or used in court.  Penile plethysmography tests a man’s level of sexual arousal and “involves placing a pressure-sensitive device around a man’s penis. The plethysmography or phallometry is a measurement of blood flow to the penis, typically used as a proxy for measurement of sexual arousal. This test is given using soft- and hard-core pornography. The use of audio, pictures, and  movies are used.(Were law enforcement to find such things in a household someone would be arrested for possession of pornography and be on the way to prison.) Pictures of nude children, men with men, women with women, and any other vicious picture deemed necessary to induct arousal are used. Alex must also keep a journal or log of masturbation.

The log is to include the date, day, and time when he thinks about masturbating, and when he performs the act, what he was visualizing at the time, whether he was thinking about an adult or child and if he climaxed. During the course of treatment Alex must also write down his complete sex history and when it began. When Alex goes to his support group he must read or tell them of his sex history and masturbation log. If a man is married, he must also divulge how often he and his wife had sex. Although the group meetings and the one-on-one therapy are supposed to be confidential, it seldom is.

Civilization in America has become dehumanizing. We are not civilized people but merely domesticated sheep.

Where are the people who cried out for justice when these sex crimes were having the most severe laws for punishment written? 

Where if the judicial crowd that hungered and lusted after the blood of a “sex offender”?

These are the same people and society that are turning a deaf ear to the revenge they so eagerly sought. By denial and lack of responsibility they continue to place themselves in an entitlement style government. 

What happened to justice for all?

What happened to the idea of second chances?

What happened to the “Golden Rule” we all learned at some point in life?  You know the one I mean, “Treat others as you would be treated”.

As a nation, have we become so deaf, blind, and insensitive that we only enjoy the hurt and pain administered to others. Do we now think of ourselves as some kind of Roman Gladiator to kill or be killed? 

Our children are showing what we have exhibited to them as the way to live. Children are now shooting each other, parents, and anyone who gets in their way. Adults are crying out  for new laws but when these laws of revenge are written who will administer justice with compassion? Who will look to the future and provide the protection of a society that needs to learn that they can be kind and compassionate while enforcing laws. Laws need to be changed and adapted to the current day not the days of yore. The days when beheading on the public square was accepted. Or are we returning to that time long ago?

 

With love,

Preacher’s Wife