Prison Policy Initiative, a criminal justice think tank, has an important new post shining a spotlight on little-known ‘shadow prisons’ which exist in states around the country. That’s where thousands are locked up indefinitely–individuals who have already been punished! They’ve finished a prison sentence, paid the price, and should be released but draconian sex offense laws allow them to be held indefinitely in civil commitment facilities. They’re locked up because the state has a hunch they might reoffend and therefore need dubious treatment that never seems to end. When it comes to shadow prisons the Constitution shines dimly, if at all, and courts have allowed this shocking practice. Learn more, have a look at Emma Peyton Williams’s terrific article! –Bill Dobbs, The Dobbs Wire Drop us a line if you would like to join The Dobbs Wire email list or have something to say: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @thedobbswire
Prison Policy Initiative | May 18 2023
What is civil commitment? Recent report raises visibility of this shadowy form of incarceration
Shadowy “civil commitment” facilities actually foster the traumatic and violent conditions that they are supposed to prevent.
by Emma Peyton Williams
As if serving a prison sentence wasn’t punishment enough, 20 states and the federal Bureau of Prisons detain over 6,000 people, mostly men, who have been convicted of sex offenses in prison-like “civil commitment” facilities beyond the terms of their criminal sentence. Around the turn of the millennium, 20 states, Washington D.C., and the federal government passed “Sexually Violent Persons” legislation that created a new way for these jurisdictions to keep people locked up — even indefinitely — who have already served a criminal sentence for a “sex offense.” MORE: