Monday, May 9, 2016

A cross between justice and indentured servitude?

This case strikes me as raising all sorts of constitutional issues.

After serving nearly two years for criminal sexual contact with a minor, Brown, 26, enrolled at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and began searching for a stable job and a place to live.

But just four months into his probation, Brown was sent back to prison. His offense: failing to enter sex offender treatment that he could not afford.

Attorneys and therapists say his case has exposed a major gap in Minnesota’s system of treatment for the nearly 1,600 convicted sex offenders who live under supervision in the community after leaving prison.

In Minnesota, sex offenders are often ordered by local judges to pay for their own treatment as a condition of probation. Yet many walk out of prison too broke to afford the co-payments. Brown was homeless, jobless and so destitute that his probation officer suggested he sell his blood to cover his $42 co-payment, court records show.

Last month a state appeals court panel upheld the revocation of Brown’s probation, triggering denunciations by prisoner advocates and public defenders. In an unusually blistering dissent, Chief Judge Edward Cleary said that preventing indigent sex offenders from obtaining treatment, due to lack of funds, sets them up for failure and undermines public safety. Quoting a Charles Dickens novel, “Martin Chuzzlewit,” the judge wrote: “Dollars! All their cares, hopes, joys, affections, virtues, and associations seemed to be melted down into dollars.”

There's more at the link.

I can see the point of requiring paroled sex offenders to enter treatment (although, in this specific case, Brown's crime was sleeping with a 15-year-old - a statutory violation, not a violent criminal act).  However, if they can't afford to pay for the treatment because they can't find a job, to put them back in jail seems like a sort of post-conviction double jeopardy - being punished twice for the same offense.  It's not their fault, so why blame them?

I think this will have to be sorted out by a series of higher court rulings.  It's going to be a complicated issue.



Chris said...

Eventually, the over-reaction of legislatures and courts that has resulted in the massive expansion of what is considered a "sex offense", this article being a good example, will be looked upon in the same light as we now view the Satanic child abusers of the 1980s and 1990s.

sth_txs said...

No Boy Scout I'm guessing, but I hate this nonsense that if someone has consensual sex with a 15 year old who looks old enough and is cognizant, that does not qualify as a worthwhile sex crime to prosecute. I'm doubtful we are safer. Maybe the mother should have taught the daughter some sense.

Anonymous said...


As down as I am on violent criminals (50 years no parole!), things like this just seem petty and vindictive to me.

Here in Washington, we recently rounded up some prisoners who had been released early by the state. The state even KNEW that for about the last 10 years they were calculating release dates incorrectly. These people, some of whom had adjusted quite well back into regular society, were packed off to prison to "finish out" their sentences.


Anonymous said...

I actually worked with a guy who did a 5 year stretch for something similar. Of course he has to register as a child molester the rest of his life and is a convicted felon. The capper is that he's happily married to his "victim" they had 4 kids the last I knew and they've been married over 25 years now. Nicest family you'll ever meet. Such is the law. Has very little to do with justice. It's about keeping the money rolling in for prisons, judges, lawyers, prosecutors, cops, jailers, parole officers and the rest of the parasite class.

Anonymous said...

Different anonymous here.
One might suspect, too, that the "treatment" programs are useless BS, run as a state-sponsored racket to line the pockets of, and give a power rush to, the sort of control freaks who invariably end up dominating such things, while creating the impression of "doing something."
Some related programs basically consist of hours of ideologically-driven indoctrination, plus confession of a standard list of sins, even if the subjects need to make stuff up to fit the sin list. Fail to say the right things, and it's off to jail until you're allowed to start the program again, from the beginning. And, of course, no limit to the total jail time nor "treatment" time.

Rolf said...

While I have little sympathy for actual child molesters, I'd like to see somewhat more serious punishments meted out to underage females that commit fraud to endanger / entrap older men. if they are shown to have lied about there age, then there must be some real cost levied against them, at the very least a permanent note on the criminal and financial record that they are amoral, criminal liars who do not care about lying and destroying the lives of others for personal pleasure.

Anonymous said...

One group session per week plus one individual session per month = $42*5 or $210 per month. Add copay of$200 for annual evaluation tests for a total of $2,720 per year to stay out of jail.
Say a councilor has 80 offenders. That is 10 people per session and 8 sessions per week, for a total of $217,600 per year. Good money for one person in a 600 square foot rundown office.

Mark said...

A 24 year old having sex with a 15 year old? Execute him. You don't have to worry about treatment.

I have a 15 year old daughter, btw.

sth_txs said...

Mark, a stupid comment. Unless she was coerced, who gives a damn? Women marrying at 15 or so with a man a few years older was the norm.

Genericviews said...

The right solution is:

1. The court pays for the treatment.
2. The perp pays back the court as part of restitution costs when and if he gets a job, the same way other victims' compensation is handled.
3. If the perp "relapses", the treatment facility refunds all of the program fees and costs since their treatment was ineffective and the program was likely based on fraud anyway.

raven said...

Gee, almost sounds like we live in a police state...

Mark said...

So sth_txs how many girls have you molested?

Hitting 15 when you're 24 means you should never be in society again.

sth_txs said...

First of all Mark, you are clearly a moron. Most teenagers have womanly feature by the time of 15. So an adult having sex with a 15 year old does not qualify as molestation. Again, thanks for showing yourself to be an idiot.

Mark, I realize you are too stupid to understand and clearly have limited intellect, but older men marrying younger was the historical norm. My great grandmother was married at 16. A cattle baron from my area of the country married an 17 year old as a 35 year old and he was her tutor as well.

So my point is that the law is out of reality with human biology. I'm doubtful that the 15 year old in question had any doubt about where babies come from.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

Much the same with drug and alcohol offenders. Court ordered "classes" from private contractors. Can't pay the bill? Off to jail. Just a modern twist on the old debtor prison system.

+1 on Genericviews

Mark said...


Molesters comprise 100% of the people who say 24-15 is "a few years older".

Hey moron, a few hundred years ago it was the norm to have slaves. What's your fucking point? How does knowing and sympathizing with molesters make you not one?

Now quit fantasizing about raping girls and join modern society.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Appeasing popular dogmas and social prejudices seem to be the top priority of those-in-charge---as opposed to analyzing and examining each individual situation realistically.
That tired old red herring of "community safety" has lost its merit a long time ago.