JANUARY 30, 2006
Imagine spending millions of taxpayer dollars to provide a place for rapists to brew alcohol and pedophiles to receive child pornography in the mail and drugs in care packages. That is exactly what is happening in Florida, where $150 million has gone to maintain a facility in Arcadia that houses violent sexual predators who are supposed to be receiving treatment before their release.
The Civil Commitment Center opened after Florida lawmakers passed one of the nation’s toughest laws against sexual predators seven years ago in memory of a 9-year-old boy (Jimmy Ryce) who was sexually assaulted, murdered and buried inside several large planters by a handyman. The Jimmy Ryce Act allows the state to keep sexual offenders locked up after completing their sentence if psychologists believe they still pose a threat to the community.
Supposedly, the most violent offenders receive treatment at the Civil Commitment Center, operated by a private company called Liberty Behavioral Health, which claims to be a national leader in the field of sex offender treatment and management. Many of them don’t even make it to the facility. A Florida newspaper’s analysis of 100,000 sex crimes reveals that at least 600 offenders who were passed over by the screening process were later arrested for new sex crimes, many against children.
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