Sex Offender Registry

Former Staffers Condemn Cruel Treatment of Inmates at a Texan Prison for Sex Offenders

The men must keep masturbation diaries, wear ankle monitors, and even use penile circumference gauges.

|

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 comes as a surprise," says Mary Sue Molnar, founder of Texas Voices for Reason and Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to reforming the state's sex offense laws and registry. "I often get letters from prison saying, 'Oh my god, they're going to civil commit me. What should I do?'"

Civil commitment is the practice of keeping people locked up past their release date, on the grounds that they are so dangerous they need therapy—years and years of it—before they can safely return to society.

Of course, Molnar notes, if the state really "wanted them to have treatment and counseling, they had plenty of time to get that done. In some cases, these men served 20 to 25 years" in an ordinary prison before being civilly committed.

This might seem just. But even as we feel great anger and sorrow on behalf of sex crime victims, we can also see that civil commitment is an extra prison sentence by another name.

Originally called clients or residents when the center opened in 2015, the men have been re-labeled "inmates" since Management and Training Corporation, a private prison company, took over in 2019.

"MTC does not run it in a therapeutic manner whatsoever," says Mandi Harner, a former security officer at the facility who was fired for having a relationship with one of the residents. "They run it like a prison. I'm not going to tell you everyone in there is an angel. But there are some men who deserve treatment they're not getting, and also some who did things as teenagers who don't deserve to be there their whole lives."

For their first year or two at the treatment facility, the men are required to wear electronic ankle monitors that they have to pay for, according to Harner. MTC declined a request for comment about this and other claims made by sources in this article, as did the Texas Civil Commitment Office (TCCO), the government agency that oversees the facility.

There is only one way to get out of Littlefield: The men must work their way up through four tiers of treatment before they are allowed to petition for their freedom.

The therapeutic techniques sound hodge-podge. The inmates "have to admit to all of their offenses and share it with the group," said one of the founders of Texans Against Civil Commitment (TACC), a former Littlefield therapist who writes under the name 'Murphy' and who claims to have been fired for not seeing "eye to eye" with management. "And they have to keep a masturbation log so the therapist knows how often they're masturbating and what they're masturbating about. So she knows whether it's healthy or whether it's deviant." The men must also record whether or not they climaxed. These logs are read aloud in group therapy.

The prison also employs polygraphs and penile plethysmography, measuring changes to the circumference or volume of the penis as the men watch and listen to different stimuli.

When an inmate moves up a tier, which can take a year, he can find himself demoted for many reasons, including very small infractions. One man who had been at Littlefield for years and made it through all four tiers was finally about to get his release hearing. But he did something wrong—rumor had it he swore at a guard—and was knocked back down to tier 1, where he would have to start anew, according to Murphy.

He went to his cell and hanged himself.

A former Littlefield guard I'll call Frank—who says he quit but wants to stay in corrections and fears retaliation—said this wasn't the only tragedy he had witnessed there. Another man, he said, castrated himself.

Frank estimates about 15 percent of the men are intellectually challenged, so they will never be able to successfully complete the therapy, because they don't understand it.

The average age of inmates is 58, says Murphy. "But there are several 80-year-old men. There are several blind men, several that use walkers and wheelchairs." That's because almost no one ever manages to complete the therapy, according to a 2015 study.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the men were locked two to a cell for 23 hours a day for several months, nine men out of about 300 died.

"We were to go with them to the hospital—two officers per resident—and you would just stare at them while on ventilators and get paid for it," says Harner. "And when they knew they were dying, they weren't even allowed to call their mom or dad because TCCO said you can't."

Until recently, inmates also had to pay a 33 percent tax on any packages they got, further isolating them from any support system they might have on the outside. For instance, if family members sent a pair of jeans and three boxes of Chips Ahoy, they would have to document what it cost and pay another 33 percent to the prison.

"One of our members during COVID-19 sent her son a package of masks and they were valued at $20," says Molnar. "She had to pay 33 percent on top of that to send him those masks."

That rule was just changed, most likely as a result of pressure from TACC. Now prisoners have to pay a 25 percent fee on any money sent to them from someone other than their spouse, according to Molnar.

Civil commitment rests on the mistaken belief that people who committed sex offenses are incorrigible—despite very low recidivism rates. What's more, no one who serves time for a sex crime enters the community unsupervised after their prison term. They remain under strict supervision for years, sometimes for life, on probation, parole, and often the Sex Offense Registry.

Civil commitment is by no means confined to Texas, and Littlefield's status as a privately operated facility is hardly the main issue. The problem is bad laws, as well as court decisions that have upheld them: More than 6,000 people are confined under civil commitment in 21 states. 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.

Recently, about 40 men at a civil commitment facility in Minnesota went on a hunger strike to protest "an indefinite detention program" they consider "an unconstitutional death sentence." Since Minnesota first began civil commitment in 1994, processing hundreds of men, it has granted only 14 full discharges and 45 provisional discharges.

Meanwhile, back in Texas, Littlefield has become a human "storage facility," says Frank.

NEXT: CDC Took Mistaken Data on Delta Variant Transmissibility From a New York Times Infographic

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I got your masturbation log right here baby.

    1. After leaving my previous job 12 months ago, i’ve had some good luck to learn about this website which was a life-saver for me… They offer jobs for which people can work online from their house. My latest paycheck after working for them for 4 months was for $4500… Amazing thing about is that the only thing required is simple typing skills and access to internet…Read all about it here… READ MORE

      1. I made over $700 per day using my mobile in part time. I recently got my 5th paycheck of $19632 and all i was doing is to copy and paste work online. this home work makes HfredsdJk me able to generate more cash daily easily. simple to do work and regular income from this are just superb. Here what i am doing.

        Try now………………. VISIT HERE

    2. I made over $700 per day using my mobile in part time. I recently got my 5th paycheck of $19632 and all i was doing is to copy and paste work online.ERg this home work makes me able to generate more cash daily easily. simple to do work and regular income from this are just superb. Here what i am doing.

      Try now………………. VISIT HERE

  2. “And they have to keep a masturbation log so the therapist knows how often they’re masturbating and what they’re masturbating about. So she knows whether it’s healthy or whether it’s deviant.” The men must also record whether or not they climaxed. These logs are read aloud in group therapy.

    Hmm. Perhaps a new requirement for holding public office?

    1. Cuomo hardest hit.

    2. Making extra salary every month from home more than $15k just by doing simple copy and paste like online job. I have received $18635 from this easy home job and now I am a good online earner like others.WGc This job is super easy and its earnings are great. Everybody can now makes extra cash online easily by

      just follow the given website……… VISIT HERE

  3. Couldn’t they just lie on the masturbation log.

    “I thought about doing it missionary with so and so… After we were married of course.”

    1. Mormon missionary.

      1. I think that’s the only way that’s not a sin to them

    2. It would be very interesting to know how the therapist interprets “I didn’t ejactulate until she whispered ‘Let’s have a baby.’ in my ear.”

  4. I’m confused. Is it the inmates who are the sex offenders, or is it the people running it?

    1. Sounds like MIdnight Express.

      Buttplugs favorite film.

    2. “I’m confused. Is it the inmates who are the sex offenders, or is it the people running it?”

      Well, the people running it seem to have way too much interest in the personal sex lives of other people. In fact, one might call it an “obsession.” This does not speak well for either their mental health or the possibility of future crimes. Perhaps they should also be subject to indeterminate “civil commitment.”

  5. Until recently, inmates also had to pay a 33 percent tax on any packages they got, further isolating them from any support system they might have on the outside.

    How the hell is a private company allowed to do this?

    I’m not entirely opposed to privately run prisons, but shit like this shouldn’t be allowed. And civil confinement needs to fall under the same 5150/5152 rules as any psych hold (and from what I’ve been told, they’re not particularly fun either).

    1. they would have to document what it cost and pay another 33 percent to the prison

      I’d be interested to know what happens if they send a pair of jeans, a box of chocolate chip cookies, a dollar bill, a receipt that says the jeans and cookies cost $1 each, and a note that says “Keep the change.”

  6. >>So she knows whether it’s healthy or whether it’s deviant.

    ya we know who the deviant is.

  7. April 27th. Today I imagined Rudy Guiliani in a pink dress. I came twice.

    1. Cuomo is a sick bastard.

      1. This is in Texas. So you must mean Ted Cruz or Greg Abbot.

        I wouldn’t call them sick bastards. Just terrible people.

        1. Today is Thursday. Or as Cuomo calls it, Hump Day.

    2. Dear member,
      It has come to our attention that your comments are off-point and overall embarrassing to our organization as they add no substantial value to the conversation and debate. Please return your Mensa card promptly.

  8. I see this place as the setting for a script of a 2021 version of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. It would never be made into a movie however, since it runs counter to the #metooalso movement, and has no climate change angle.

    1. And missing the necessary damaged but strong femme fragile female lead. A WOC or a woman with a British accent.

  9. I doubt anybody will lose an election in Texas for treating sex offenders like shit–regardless of whether that’s the way it should be. If you’re a politician in Texas, you probably want to be called out in the media by name for treating sex offenders like shit–regardless of whether that’s the way it should be.

    1. ha my s.o. says the Rapists should never be let out because they can’t re-wire rapey … she’d agree w/you

      1. America the beautiful.

  10. The profits of a Haldiram franchise depend on the location of the outlet along with the type of franchise that has been chosen by the franchisee.
    haldiram franchise

    1. What does Conan The Barbarian have to do with this?

  11. The therapeutic techniques sound hodge-podge. The inmates “have to admit to all of their offenses and share it with the group,” said one of the founders of Texans Against Civil Commitment (TACC), a former Littlefield therapist who writes under the name ‘Murphy’ and who claims to have been fired for not seeing “eye to eye” with management. “And they have to keep a masturbation log so the therapist knows how often they’re masturbating and what they’re masturbating about. So she knows whether it’s healthy or whether it’s deviant.” The men must also record whether or not they climaxed. These logs are read aloud in group therapy.

    Meanwhile the “therapist” sits in a corner just saying “Go on…” with their hand down their pants the whole time.

  12. As usual SCOTUS makes shit up.

    1. YES, yes, and yes!

  13. What about #MeToo and the victims?

  14. Everything about this seems deliberately structured so you can describe it accurately and people will see good things but reality is the exact opposite.

    The last few years of a sentence in a specialized facility for therapy before release doesn’t sound awful. Reality is it’s the first few years post-sentence and therapy is arbitrary and designed to never be completed (isn’t it all though) is more a nightmare. And given how sex offender has been watered down to almost “offended radical feminist” levels it’s even worse.

  15. “Frank estimates about 15 percent of the men are intellectually challenged, so they will never be able to successfully complete the therapy, because they don’t understand it.”

    Smart enough to do the crime, smart enough to do the time.

    1. smart enough to do the time

      Plus an indeterminate amount of additional time after the initial sentence is completed?

    2. What does ‘doing the time’ have to do with civil commitment? Please tell me…I’ll wait…

    3. They did their time. They did the sentence the judge handed down. To make them go into another jail to talk about what makes them cum is gross. It’s about making money. It’s a private jail so they can do things different.
      So next they will make drug addicts go to rehab and never get out. What is wrong with this world?
      Before anyone decides to be mean I am a victim of sex abuse and still think Texas is in the wrong

  16. Many of you have never worked with these disgusting animals.

    Yes even the “Intellectually Handicap” are terrible.

    Child molesters, women rapists, disgusting habitual exposers or masturbaters…Urine drinkers, feces smearers, fake cutters, metal pieces swallowers, fake suiciders etc.

    All hiding or pretending they’re these poor sad innocent souls for the Parole Board while being rude, disrespectful and disgusting with staff.

    The recidivism rate isn’t low…They are just not properly monitored or arrested anymore for drugs, weapons, small crimes and being in places they shouldn’t (Near schools, parks, churches, arcades etc).

    It’s lack of money that allows them out and about and most people don’t care till their kid/mom/sister/wife gets raped then it’s all “WHY IS HE OUT???”

    1. And for disgusting animals like you, we have the comment board.

    2. you’re sick

    3. And dudes who got caught peeing behind a dumpster in an alley at 2am when the cop went out of his way to look at his wang, or college chicks sunbathing topless in a small secluded clearing in a national forest. Both are sex offenses that get you on the registry.

    4. Have you worked with folks in civil commitment? If so, which facility?

    5. Have you worked at one of the civil commitment facilities? If so, which one?

      1. Vicki Henry is the national spokesperson for the pedophile-rights movement. She tries to convince America that pedos are nice guys who never re-offend and we should all let them in our neighborhoods.

        She couldn’t even keep an eye on her own convicted child pornographer son, Joshua Eugene Burton, who was literally offending again in the bedroom next to hers, using her internet. He was posing as a teen girl named “Becky Smith, then threatening children who wouldn’t send him homemade sex videos. Yes, what a nice guy!

        But we’re supposed to trust Vicki Henry that pedos across America whom she doesn’t even know are safe. I don’t think so, Icky Vicki.

        https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/former-us-marine-and-registered-sex-offender-pleads-guilty-coercing-minors-produce-sex

        1. If the pedophile-rights activists like Derek Warren Logue are going to compare their “plight” to those of Persons of Color by lying about being Native American, they should at least stop fraudulently using super-white names when they pose as children on the internet to rape more kids.

          Vicki Henry, please tell your son, Joshua Eugene Burton, that his “Becky Smith” persona was painfully WASP.

          Oh my God, Becky,
          Look at her butt!
          It’s so…prepubescent.
          She looks like one of those pedo guy’s girlfriends.
          Who understands those pedo guys?
          They only talk to her because she looks like a toddler.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X53ZSxkQ3Ho

          1. Go sjw with your own kind at the civil commitment center. No one wants to hear about you and your uncle “raping” you. Fag.

  17. Civil commitment in the United States of America…America is all a lie!

  18. “Civil commitment is the practice of keeping people locked up past their release date.”

    Google ‘Heels up” Harris and see what she did as an AG in California.

  19. “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.”

    What kind of dystopic nonsense is this? If this doesn’t show you just how dangerous our government is, nothing will.

    The truth is that those who have committed a sexual offense are among the least likely to recidivate. The Civil Commitment is WAY out of bounds, but even the “Sex Offense Registry”, on which there are nearly 1 million people, does absolutely nothing to keep anyone safe. With over 95% of sexual related crimes committed by someone familiar to the victim, all the rules and regulations that apply to Registrants simply prohibit them from successfully reintegrating into society. The government doesn’t want people to simply pay the price for their crime, learn from it, and move on. They encourage the perpetual incarceration machine by creating such a complicated mess of restrictions you need a Master’s degree in Law to even figure out if going to McDonalds might be crossing some local ordinance and send them back to prison.

    The Registry needs to be abolished. It is a costly waste of taxpayer resources with zero proven effectiveness.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.