Civilly Confined Sex offenders can't have conjugal visits, court rules

Ed: It is essential to understand several things in these cases. 1. Sexually Violent Predator does not require actual "violence". In every state using the term (and that's most of them) it means having any kind of sex with someone under the age of 14 or 13 (depends on State). The mere act of having sex with someone under that age is, in the State's definition, "sexual violence". 2. Civil commitment of a sex offender for an indefinite period of time following the completion of their prison sentence was previously unknown in our society. A decade or more ago, before these civil commitments, they would be back home anyway. To argue that these men (and virtually ALL are men) are less deserving of conjugal visits than state PRISONERS who have not yet completed their prison terms and who ARE currently being punished is demonstrably unjust and gives lie to the conceit that Civil Commitments "are not being punished, but simply being removed from society for its protection". ] Private nookie time for sexually violent predators in state treatment facilities is a no-no, a New Jersey appeals court has ruled. The state's policy of banning conjugal visits was challenged by a predator who was committed after being convicted of kidnapping and rape, among other crimes. Identified in court papers only as R.R., the patient called the policy "excessively restrictive," given that he was involuntarily committed to a rehabilitation and treatment facility instead of sent to prison. He requested "new rules" that would allow him some alone time with his wife. Otherwise, he claimed, he was being denied "the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness, privacy, and procreation associated with lawful marriage" under rules that govern prison inmates. R.R. already was in the process of being commmitted when he got married in September 2004, court papers show. After being sent to the unnnamed treatment facility, he asked the state Department of Corrections in May 2005 to grant him "marital privacy and conjugal visitation." That request was denied, as were subsequent bids each of the following two years. So he turned to the courts. The justices agreed with state officials: Violent predators must be treated differently from patients who are, say, mentally ill or suffer from tuberculosis -- if for no other reasons than the safety and security of residents, staff and visitors, they said. In their decision, published yesterday, the justices cited a previous ruling, in which they said: "Individuals are civilly committed...because they pose a danger to the public health and safety due to their behavior." The point of their being there in the first place, the panel added, is because a judge determined they were likely to commit a violent sex crime again and needed to be removed from society for the greater good. And even though these facilities aren't intended to be run as prisons, the judges noted, state officials are responsible for protecting anyone else who might work in or visit the place. " not denied other contacts with his spouse," reads the opinion, published yesterday. "During that time, kissing and hugging can occur at the commencement and conclusion of the visit. "Additionally, hand holding is allowed, and both visitors and residents are permitted to place their arms around the shoulders of others and to place their heads on another's shoulder." "Clearly," the judges concluded, "the DOC has an interest in monitoring interaction between residents and visitors in order to ensure that contraband is not passed to residents, that safety is maintained, and that treatment goals are not compromised." Beyond that, they said, none of R.R.'s arguments "warrant further discussion."

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