Unlike the previous civil commitment centers I have discussed; Kansas is blatant enough to call their sex offender confinement a state hospital. This hospital is located in Larned, Kansas. In actuality Kansas is the most truthful when they state their civil commitment is a hospital. 

The Larned State Hospital was established in 1914 in the western part of Kansas approximate125 miles west of Wichita. Its mission was to provide treatment and care to the mentally ill. In 1939 the hospital took on additional responsibilities with the opening of the State Security Hospital.

 

In 1994 the hospital added more responsibility to their system. The Kansas Sexual Predator Treatment Program was established under the Sexual Predator Act, KSA 59-29A01.

The care and treatment for the convicted sex offender is provided primarily by the Larned State Hospital. The convicted sex offender is a person who has completed their prison sentence but has been determined by another court to be of a violent sexual nature. The sex offender is now classified as a “patient” in need of involuntary inpatient treatment. 

The new sex offender program has a dual mission. The first goal is to protect the public from any further victimization by any and all sexual offenders committed to the program. Secondly, the program is required to provide a mental health program which would assist motivated offenders to lower their risk of re-offending. The risk needed to be lowered to the point that the offender could safely live in an open society and become a productive and contributing citizen of the community.

House Social Services Budget Committee 

January 26, 2011, Overview of Sexual Predator Treatment Program

 

The Sexual Predator Treatment Program consists of seven (7) phases of treatment as follows:

  1. Orientation and preliminary identification of issues.
  2. Academic learning principles.
  3. Application of principles.
  4. Completion of inpatient issues and development of a relapse prevention plan.
  5. Reintroduction to open society and preparation for transition.
  6. Demonstration of ability to perform transition tasks (getting a job, paying bills, outpatient therapy, etc.)
  7. Formal transition (ordered by the Court).

The first five (5) are located in the Larned State Hospital and phases six (6) and seven (7) are located at Osawatomie State Hospital.

 

TREATMENT STANDARDS

  • Adequate, competent staff that is supervised by a mental health professional. 
  • Appropriate training of staff in order to ensure consistency of treatment between all staff.
  • Individualized treatment plans for patients. This includes providing the resident with a “roadmap” in a manner understandable to the resident as to what it takes to complete the treatment and show the progress of the resident.
  • Appropriate behavioral management policies and procedures.
  • Inclusion of the resident’s family in the rehabilitation effort, including visitation, telephone, and mail.
  • A treatment oriented “flavor” to the facility that is lacking a Department of Corrections “flavor”.
  • Separation of participating residents from non-participating residents, in order to avoid harassment of the participating residents.
  • Educational, vocational, religious, and recreational opportunities.
  • Availability of a grievance procedure.
  • External oversight, either in the form of licensing, certification, or a consultation agreement.

This outline of treatment phases and standards is a conceivable theory. It is a shame that the State of Kansas does not accept or follow their codes. A larger percentage of the time these standards are totally ignored without fear of possible repercussions to the employer or employees.

According to the Kansas Mental Health Coalition report SCOPE statement, in January 2011, the Sexual Predator Treatment Program at the hospital had almost reached full capacity with 200 of 214 available beds filled. In 2020 Larned housed 286  sexually violent prisoners at a cost of $24.9 million dollars from the State General Fund. 

Texas and Kansas are sisters of the law with their enactment of sexual predator laws. On paper their plan appears workable but in the face of reality for many reasons and among the many money greatly influences the silent partners and investors, to the point that the ideal treatment and exit plan is not enforced.

Usually within at least ninety (90) days of release from prison a person convicted of a sex offense or convicted of a violent sex offense and who has a mental or behavior abnormality or found not guilty by reason of insanity for a violent sex offense will be reviewed by a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). (Texas and Kansas) The team may consist of a group of five (5) representatives from a state agency, mental health professionals, and sex offender treatment professionals. After the review by MDT the case is sent to the prosecutor in the county of conviction to assess if there is enough probable cause to detain the person and if there is, a hearing will be held. If the probable cause is upheld, then the convicted person will be labeled a Sexually Violent Person and transferred to the location of the civil commitment center to begin his residency of an indeterminate (life) sentence.

While the Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution prohibit double jeopardy, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is acceptable to effectively imprison sex offenders a second time—not for the crimes they committed, but for future crimes they might commit.

Sadly, on the day the Sexually Violent Person arrives at the unit of confinement, the first emotion most offenders exhibit is anger. Some of the anger is justified. These individuals were preparing for a life in the “free world” and to see family members again in a home environment. These men were not prepared at any time of incarceration to be declared a Sexually Violent Predator, nor were they expecting to serve another sentence of indeterminate length in a prison more secure than the ones they left behind. 

Before a therapist can begin to treat sexual dysfunctions, he/she must deal with a multitude of anger issues. These anger issues may also stem from the abuse of verbal, emotional, or psychological tearing down of their spirit at the hands of the staff at their new home.

From 2012 until 2014 the sexual predator treatment program consisted of one to three hours of professionally-led group therapy weekly and a 30-minute session with a psychologist once every three months (by Matthew Clarke published in Prison Legal News March, 2016, page 30).

As with the states previously discussed, the Kansas Civil Commitment Program is another confinement suffering from severe understaffing problems. Low wages and poor working conditions are contributories to the ongoing low staffing problems and according to a former counselor for Larned, Tapathy Strickler said she resigned because she felt the civil commitment program was unethical and believed only a handful of offenders are too dangerous to be released. Instead, she said, most are caught up in a “vicious cycle” due to organizational problems, because patients can be forced to repeat stages of treatment as punishment for uncooperative behavior or failing routine polygraph tests, prompting many to boycott the program out of frustration (bMatthew Clarke published in Prison Legal News March, 2016, page 30). 

According to a January 16, 2016, article in the Kansas City Star, only four sex offenders have been released since Kansas implemented its civil commitment program in 1994, while 28 have died.

How much proof does it take and how many men must die in Civil Commitment Purgatory for the states of civil commitment to awake to the fact that the program is not working anywhere? When does common sense take over and America returns to making laws based on need and not emotional outburst or the latest trending crime wave? 

SEXOFFENDERS LEAST LIKELY TO REOFFEND

Contrary to popular belief the treatment provided to sex offenders while in prison is often very effective. A DOJ study of recidivism of prisoners released in 1994 found sex offenders the least likely to reoffend. Only two and a half percent of individuals charged with drug crimes reoffended at a rate of 41 percent. Larcenists reoffended at a rate of almost 34 percent and burglars at just over 23 percent. Independent studies on treatment found that in-prison treatment helped reduce recidivism rates by 15 percent. That number doubled to nearly 30 percent when it was paired with after prison treatment (Charles L. Waechter Law Firm).

A study shows that over a five-year period 21.7 percent of homicide convicts were rearrested for violent offenses nearly identical to the 21.4 sex offenders who were rearrested for violent offenses. Releasees who committed instant drug offenses, sex offenses, or murder were less likely to recidivate than those who committed burglary, theft, or assault, where are the civil commitment laws for these people and most of all why is there not a civil commitment center for them rather than the luxurious suites provided at the state prison

BIAS VS. OPINION

Bias is an inclination, prejudice, preference, or tendency towards or against a person, group, thing, idea, or belief. Biases are usually unfair or prejudicial and are often based on stereotypes, rather than knowledge or experience. Bias is usually learned, although some biases may be innate

Opinion is a view or judgment formed about something not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

When reading this blog, ask yourself if you are reading with a bias, opinion, or an open mind willing to learn more about the subject before dismissing sex offenders, civil commitment and what happens to uncontrolled entities?

I encourage all who read this blog to share if you agree and to contribute any information for or against civil commitment. It is in the valleys we grow.

Please donate to this website so that they and I may continue to give voice to those who do not speak out about subjects hiding in the dark. 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME,

 PREACHER’S WIFE