"Sex Offenders" - Canaries in the coal mine

Just came across this in an article about controversy over revising the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM (see "Psychiatry's Civil War", http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427381.300-psychiatrys-civil-war.html?full=true, by Peter Aldhous):

"Twenty US states have passed laws that allow sex offenders who have served their sentences to be detained indefinitely in a secure hospital if they are deemed 'sexual predators' (New Scientist, 24 February 2007, p 6)."

  This is not so different from the old Soviet practice of putting dissidents in mental hospitals. These "hospitals" are really prisons in all but name. It's a scary trend that should be denounced.

  According to a critic of the DSM revision process quoted in the article linked above, updaters are considering adding new categories of mental conditions that threaten to worsen this ominous practice by pathologizing normal male attraction to teens or fantasies about rape, which will not be acted on: "If hebephilia and paraphilic coercive disorder make it into DSM-V, they will be seized upon to consign men to a lifetime of incarceration."

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

This is the one topic that is really scary to talk about, or even reply to you about.

There are absolutely no allies for those who are sucked (you should excuse the expression) into this kafkaesque nightmare.

I hear you, Phil. But all the more reason for those of us who have *not* been labeled as Sex Offenders and don't have a personal stake in the fight to speak out about it!

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

The appropriate way to talk about this is to talk about double jeopardy, not
"normal male attraction to teens," Starchild.

When people (most recently Bruce Dovner on the LP national platform
committee this past weekend) tell me that we have to change our platform to
say that convicts released from prison should not be able to have guns, my
response is that it's double jeopardy, because someone "on the outside" has
every right to protect themselves. He said "murderers and people dangerous
to society" should not be allowed guns after released from prison, and my
response was that the appropriate way to protect society was to keep
dangerous people in jail -- if that means much longer initial prison terms
and earlier/more frequent parole hearings, so be it. If a murderer or other
violent felon has been "rehabilitated" by their prison term, and is paroled
early, then they should have the full right to keep and bear arms. If they
have not been "rehabilitated," then what the heck are they doing running
free in society? (We all know the answer to that -- they were released due
to prison overcrowding caused by jailing nonviolent offenders like drug

Similarly, if someone is truly sick and cannot be rehabilitated, then they
should be in a hospital, not a prison. This current travesty of double
jeopardy whereby people who serve their prison terms are then subsequently
placed in state mental hospitals is due to prosecutorial abuse. If the
person who has committed the crime is not sick, then they should serve their
time in prison and have full rights and freedoms upon release. If the
person who has committed the crime is actually sick, then they should be
committed (forever, or at least for a very long time) to a hospital and
never set foot in a prison. But it's because overzealous DAs intent on
boosting their conviction record want to make sure that even sick people go
to prison for a while that we have this current mess.

Honestly, most of the people you're talking about who have been committed to
those state mental hospitals for sex offenders really do belong in the
hospital -- if not for the rest of their lives, at least until old age --
because they truly are sick. The outrage is that they ever had to go to
prison first.


But they can label or entrap anybody who they think is threatening to their balliwick or idealogy. It is very scary. I remember discussiing this with Krissey Keefer and she advised me to just shut up about it. Even at our own meetings, tim Kaklinski is treated as a pariah, although he admits guilt and Rob loves to ragg on that san Diego boyscout leader, also probably not exactly innocent.


  I agree with you that the obvious violations of due process are the strongest argument here, but I don't need you to tell me what's "the appropriate way" to talk about a public policy issue. When I referred to "normal male attraction to teens," I was simply referring to something printed in the article:

"The proposed diagnosis has been condemned by critics as dangerously blurring the boundary between paedophilia and normal male attraction to teenage girls - which isn't necessarily acted upon."

  "Double jeopardy" refers to being tried twice for the same offense. Incarcerating someone who's already served his or her full sentence, without any additional charges or trial even taking place, or taking away the civil rights of ex-convicts, isn't "double jeopardy" in the usual sense of the term, it's something arguably even worse.

  Having a desire is one thing. Acting on it is something else altogether. And of course there are all the issues around age and consent, which is by no means a settled debate. Current laws lump people who honestly believe their actions were consensual in with indisputably violent aggressors. It seems to me that there are three legitimate aims of enforcement against criminals -- restitution, public safety (punishment/deterrence), and rehabilitation. Unfortunately as we know, governments and to some degree societies are almost exclusively focused on public safety. Jail is hardly a rehabilitative setting, and victims have little or no say in what happens to people who violated their rights.

  If we're talking about people being treated for a mental condition, that does not require being imprisoned. When you refer to people being "committed (forever, or at least for a very long time) to a hospital," "if not for the rest of their lives, at least until old age," what you're talking about isn't primarily a hospital, it's a prison.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))