The TACC Team would like to thank NARSOL for allowing us to present at the conference and share information about civil commitment. We would like to express special thanks to Paul Shannon (Chair) and Robin Vander Wall (Vice-Chair) or NARSOL. Many thanks also to Texas Voices for hosting our table and for Mary Sue Molnar’s continued support of our new group.
There were many great presenters at the conference and there is no way to name them all and describe each ones contribution to making an impact in the lives of those affected by the registry and civil commitment.
David Singleton delivered a powerful message about “Using Interest Convergence Theory to Reform Oppressive Sexual Offense Laws” on Friday, October 8, 2021. The NARSOL conference program stated: “The late law professor Derrick Bell theorized that Black people win civil rights victories only when Black and White interests converge. The theory he coined, ‘interest-convergence thesis’, applies beyond racial context. David Singleton … will explain how interest-convergence theory informed his litigation and advocacy strategies and how advocates can incorporate such strategies into their own work on behalf of people negatively impacted by sexual offense laws.” David’s session provided ideas that could help move the efforts forward to help the men that are civilly committed using this theory.
Paul Dubbeling, a Civil Rights Attorney and NARSOL’s General Counsel, offered an engaging session on how to use litigation, education and legislation as an integrated strategy for reform. Another great speaker that offered ideas to support our work and moves toward legislation and policy changes was Dwayne Daughtry. He gave us great ways to engage politically with developing a strong elevator pitch.
The TACC Team presented, “Endless Suffering in the Shadow Prison Hellhole: Civil Commitment” to a very large group. This was a great opportunity to spread the word about the injustice of civil commitment. Here are just a few points we shared: Individuals are 4 times more likely to die in civil commitment than complete the program successfully. Less than 2% of individuals have completed the program in more than six years of confinement. Prior to opening the Texas Civil Commitment Center in Littlefield, the State of Texas had an outpatient supervised release program for those identified as Sexually Violent Predators. Those under mandated supervision in Texas had an even lower rate of sexual recidivism (0.8 percent) over an average release period of 4.77 years, thus strongly supporting supervised release as a method to reduce risk.
We also handed out brochures to anyone that would pass our table. Every brochure included information people need to know about civil commitment in Littlefield, Tx. For example:
The Texas Civil Commitment Center (TCCC) is a for-profit, shadow prison hell-hole.
Listed below are critical insufficiencies and detrimental practices in the TCCC located in Littlefield, Texas:
- The Texas Civil Commitment Office that oversees the TCCC has not established a clear path to release with plans to re-integrate men into the community.
- More men have died in the TCCC than men that have completed the program.
- The TCCC has a lack of quality, consistent medical and clinical treatment care.
- The TCCC does not have a Registered Nurse or Doctor on staff for proper diagnosis and support of medical conditions. Many men have medical needs as the average age of prisoners is 58. Men go without proper medications regularly.
- The clinical therapy is inconsistent due to staff turnover and constant changes to the curriculum. Curriculum and staff changes result in delays in moving through the program tiers. Many men have finished their tier and wait to be moved up, some for many months or years with no explanation.
- TCCO and the TCCC have many biases that impact the men directly.
- The Director and a Board member, who control release, are both indirect survivors of sexual offenses.
- The evaluations currently used would identify almost anyone at an early age as high risk. Especially those that come from poverty and/or are minorities or belong to the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Evaluations are used that are not even allowed in a court of law (polygraph, PPG, etc.). The plethysmography (PPG) is a barbaric test OUTLAWED in most other countries, also not allowed in a court of law. Men are forced to watch child pornography while this test is administered.
- Psychologists used to determine the criteria for commitment are paid by the State to commit individuals to a FOR-PROFIT facility.