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Protesters Make Alarming Allegations About Statewide Sex Offender Treatment Program in Littlefield | KLBK | KAMC

LITTLEFIELD, Texas — Protesters gathered outside the Littlefield Civil Engagement Center Saturday morning to bring light to the injustices they say are happening within the old prison’s barbed wire fences.

Texas created the Civil Engagement Program in 1999; like 20 other states, this type of program allows state agencies to compel sex offenders, who have already served their sentence in prison, to participate in treatment programs intended to mitigate possible recurrences in the future.

In 2015, Governor Abbott reformed the program and worked with private contractors to set up a treatment facility in Littlefield, but advocates said the program didn’t do what it was created to do.

Protesters told KLBK News they believe residents’ civil rights have been violated.

“We don’t support anyone who commits crimes – I want to make that clear. This is about supporting people who have been released [from treatment] after serving their sentence,” said Kevin Word with Texans Against Civil Commitment.

According to its website, “The Texas Civil Commitment Office is a small state agency responsible for providing intensive monitoring and treatment to sexually violent predators.”

The agency said it focused on public safety, supervision and treatment, but protesters argued the program was a for-profit program by private groups.

“The murderers are released. They are not convicted and detained because they might do something. That’s why these men are here – because they could do something,” Word said.

The treatment program is not clearly defined by legislators and leaves room for interpretation. Because of this, family members with relatives at the facility said it was impossible to say when those people would be released.

“My son has been in civil commitment longer than he was in prison. And he’s still in level one. This is his seventh year in Texas Civil Commitment,” said Linnell Hanks, mother of a Texas resident. Civil Commitment.

The treatment program consists of five levels that residents must complete before being released.

However, protesters said it was an insurmountable task when penalties for arbitrary rule violations can and have caused residents to take a step back in their treatment.

“The program released less than six [residents] since 2015 and there have been 29 deaths at the facility. Medical care is non-existent,” Word said, adding that these people originally participated in a successful outpatient program before the facility opened.

TCCO said in a statement to KLBK News today that those allegations are not true and said 13 people have been released from the program since 2016 and only three “sexually violent predators have died.”

After the story aired on Monday, several people contacted KLBK’s newsroom claiming that TCCO’s statement was untrue. They said they could prove 29 people had died, along with several other claims, but those claims have yet to be substantiated.

Nicole Robinson has a son who lives at the Littlefield settlement, which is why she attended the protest. She said: “They are supposed to be residents and they are not treated like that. They are treated like animals. We take advantage of them and use them like a check.

She’s not the only person to tell KLBK News that profit gets in the way of justice.

“That’s the reason they don’t want them to graduate…because when they graduate they have to have enough guys to get them out so they keep getting checked” , Robinson explained.

Some protesters and organizations, like Families Against Committing Texans Standup (FACTS) and Texans Against Civil Commitment, have said they are calling for reforms.

Others are “advocating that this program be shut down,” said Jennifer Williams, whose son remains at the facility.

“I ask the senator [John] Whitmire to come shut it down like he promised he would back in 2015 when he walked through those walls and said, ‘If this doesn’t work, I’m going to shut it down…’” Williams said in tears. “They are free men. They have had their day.”

However, protesters said they felt the program extended the time these offenders spent in jail.

TCCO sent KLBK News a statement “in reference to a public awareness event held outside of the Texas Civil Commitment Center (TCCC) located in Littlefield, TX.”

The statement regarding TCCC and its “customers” who reside at the facility reads as follows:

“The people who reside at the TCCC are sexually violent predators committed civilly. A sexually violent predator, by definition, is a sexually violent repeat offender who suffers from a behavioral abnormality that makes the sexually violent predator susceptible to repeated acts of predatory sexual violence. Civil liability for sexually violent predators is governed by Chapter 841 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

Pursuant to Section 841.001 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, the Legislature has concluded in part:

  • That there is a small but extremely dangerous group of sexually violent predators and that these predators have a behavioral abnormality which does not lend itself to traditional mental illness treatment modalities and which renders the predators susceptible to repeated predatory acts of sexual violence.
  • That the treatment modalities for sexually violent predators are different from the traditional treatment modalities for persons suitable for involuntary commitment under Subtitle C, Title 7.
  • That a civil recognizance process for the long-term monitoring and treatment of violent sexual predators is necessary and in the interest of the state.

TCCO added that it is “responsible for providing appropriate and necessary treatment and supervision to internees through the case management system and for developing and implementing a sex offender treatment program for predators. sexually violent acts committed under Chapter 841 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Section 841 further requires TCCO to implement a tiered processing program.

You can find a summary of TCCO and the Tiered Treatment Program online, “which includes general information about the engagement process as well as statistical information regarding sexually violent predators overseen by TCCO.”

The statement continued: “An issue raised by attorney Ryan Brown are questions regarding the treatment of sex offenders during quarantines related to COVID-19. The COVID protocols used at TCCC can be found in the COVID-19 resources section on the TCCO website: https://tcco.texas.gov/resources.

Regarding the 29 possible fatalities and five program completions, TCCO said, “While any loss of life is a tragedy, this claim is not correct. On the contrary, three sexually violent predators have died at the TCCC… Since 2016, thirteen people have been released from the Texas Civil Commitment Center – nine of whom have been released from civil commitment by their Commitment Court. In short, thirteen people have been fully released from civil service from 2016 to today.

Statistics published by TCCO as of April 11, 2022:
• 552 total civil sex offenders in 112 counties: 111 in jail and 437 in the community.
100% are men.
• 13 SVPs who no longer had the behavioral anomaly that qualified them for commitment were
released by the court. Four SVPs are at level 5 and live independently in the community. two additional
The SVPs were at level 5 but were returned to the confined facility for more intensive supervision and
treatment due to regressions in their treatment and/or behavior.
• The age range is from 24 to 91 years old with an average age of 56.78 years old.
• The population is 54.74% Caucasian, 25.00% African American, 19.89% Hispanic, 0.18% Native
American and 0.18% other.
• 65% of SVPs have only child victims, 17.5% have only adult victims and 17.5% have both adults and victims.
child victims.

This is a developing story. If you have any information or supporting documentation regarding the Civil Engagement program and facility at Littlefield, please email Elizabeth Fitz at [email protected]

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