My name is LaDonna Smith. I have a brother in the Texas Civil Commitment Center facility in Littlefield, Texas. There is a resident there named Victor Jackson who started a hunger strike on October 12th. Victor is wanting to bring attention to the mistreatment of the men at the facility and the lies that the people running it are telling the American people. Victor has been threatened since he started the hunger strike to be placed in SMU if he does not stop. He said he is wanting to help bring attention and is going to keep going until someone looks into what is going on. I know that most people do not understand that most of these men are former victims themselves and they want treatment. The men in the facility have all either served the full sentence in a Texas prison or they have gone before a parole board and been released. The men are then sued and sent to TCCC for treatment. Many of these men were actually out in the world being productive, had families, jobs and were pulled and put in there.
I was a sexual assault victim as a young child and use to have a lot of the same feelings as most people about sexual predators. I have learned a lot through counseling and talking with my brother that they are victims too. The men in the facility want treatment and many have requested treatment when they were in prison but were told they would have to wait until they were released. My brother has learned a lot from the therapy at the facility, but the way they are being treated is totally inhumane. These men are screamed at by staff and talked to like trash. They can only talk to family and friends that TCCC says they can. They can only get the medical treatment that TCCC deems necessary. They are packed in the facility like sardines and the list goes on and on. Most animals in the shelters are treated better than these men that the Texas prison system has said are FREE. The civil commitment system in Texas is unconstitutional and is basically legal torture. Many of the men in this facility are elderly, handicapped, and are truly just sent there to die. Marsha McLane is the head of TCCC and is biased against sexual criminals because her ex-husband is a sexual criminal. It is well known by the men that she has stated she will never release anyone from the facility. The therapists and guards are told to find anything to get the men in trouble and have them tiered down in the treatment, so they don’t get out. The facility has been open for 6 years and only 2 men have completed the program and been released, but they have had 25 men die inside the walls of the facility. The men that died were not from other residents, it was from natural causes from the lack of good medical care except for 1 man who committed suicide because of the treatment. It is federally required for the program to be a treatment one and not punitive, but that is far from what the reality is in Texas. The people in charge of TCCC have no background in therapy or treatment of people with behavior abnormalities, but do have a background in prison and parole. The company that runs the facility is a state prison contractor. The men were not sent for treatment. They were sent to a torture facility with an indefinite sentence.
There are about 400 men in the facility that was meant to hold 200. The facility was originally built as a youth detention center, but in 2015 the state of Texas made it the home for those deemed to have a behavior abnormality who were civilly committed. There are men in the facility that don’t have the mental capacity to even understand fully why they are there. Many of the men are military vets or those who would be on social security and disability if they were on the outside. However, they are unable to receive any assistance because the people in charge of TCCC have blocked it. These men have health issues that need treatment that TCCC will not provide, but they have the men’s means of assistance stopped or blocked. The men have better health care in prison than they do in civil commitment. They are told they have to pay for any medications that are over the counter and some prescriptions that TCCC says are too expensive. The men have to go without medicine if they can’t pay. The men have to put in a sick call to be seen, even if they feel it is urgent, but many sick calls take over 48 hours and some longer to get seen. There is a man who is blind and uses a walker that takes insulin and has to have another resident take him down to get his shots because the facility will not send someone to get him. There are men in the facility that are blind that have not gotten any assistance to be able to read and understand the program, but there are translators for those who don’t speak English. There are over 25% of the men that are so handicapped in some form that if it wasn’t for one of the other residents helping them, they wouldn’t make it.
There are around 10 men at the facility that are transgender. They have been going through their journey in transformation and are now receiving the hormone shots to continue, which is wonderful. BUT These men are allowed to transform their bodies to become female, but are not allowed to have women’s clothing. They are not allowed to have women’s makeup, clothing that looks feminine, or anything would make them look different. They are housed with all the other men and must share the same bathrooms and showers. They are not given any counseling and support to help them. They are even looked at and treated differently by their therapist. They have no chance to try and become what they truly feel they are inside and are continually treated badly.
These men are being treated worse than the national terrorists that are being held in United States prisons. These men are cuffed and ankle monitors placed on them to go see outside dentists and remember these are FREE men. They have to request to have family and friends put on their contact list and then those people are contacted by the caseworker and asked a list of questions then have to wait to see if it is approved. The men are ranked on how many contacts they have, and they want to have as many contacts as possible. I myself was told that if I didn’t play nice with the caseworker, I would be taken off my brother’s contacts. The caseworker uses that control to keep families in check, so no one complains for fear they will lose contact. Some of the men are even required to have supervised phone calls with their family members. Does this sound like a treatment facility or a prison to you?
The men have to put in a request for home packages and items to be ordered for them to get it. They only can have 2 packages every 3 months and can only order from approved places. Families aren’t able to send in a special thing for them because everything has to be approved. Then after they get things purchased by them or their families, they may not get to keep them. I sent in a pink shirt that was purchased in the men’s section that I personalized for my brother. They would not let him have it, and he had to pay to send it back home. The men also have their cells shook down and can have their items taken at any time. They also have to worry about losing their items if someone else gets in trouble. There have been many times that all the men have had all their electronics taken because of someone else’s actions, and it took weeks to get them back. This is FREE men having their own personal items taken that have done nothing wrong. Does that sound like a treatment facility or a prison?
Remember these men are FREE. They have paid the price the courts gave them. They are there for treatment and they want the treatment. I do not understand how you expect men to become a good part of society but you treat them worse than murdering terrorists.