This week on Everyday Injustice, we spoke with Emma Peyton Williams, who recently wrote a piece with the Prison Policy Initiative on the little known and often misunderstood practice of civil commitment.
She noted that 20 states and the federal Bureau of Prisons “detain over 6,000 people, mostly men, who have been convicted of sex offenses in prison-like ‘civil commitment’ facilities beyond the terms of their criminal sentence.”
The 20 states include California and Illinois.
Some of these commitments are indefinite.
While there are questions about the constitutionality of the practice, in 2017, the US Supreme Court “declined to hear a case from Minnesota after a federal judge deemed the practice unconstitutional.”
Among the concerns raised in the segment—the lack of safeguards, the fact that these are “shadow prions” without full due process of law, questionable evidence-based practices, and the overall deplorable conditions of the facilities themselves.