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Governor Acknowledges Hatred of Sex Offenders

The cat is out of the  bag…Governor Jeb Bush has recently admitted his personal hatred and prejudicial disdain for sexual offenders trapped at the  Arcadia prison known as the Florida Civil Commitment Center. A scathing four part  investigative story in the Miami Herald by reporter Jason Grotto has exposed abuse, corruption, fraud and violence towards the sexual offenders legally trapped there, while implicating the State for incompetence and neglect.  Governor Bush, when confronted with the Miami Herald’s findings, stated "But,  like, I mean, this is a group of people that are the sickest of the sick", Bush said. "They are truly perverted and they are not  curable, and we are spending $54,000 a year on these folks".


Is it any wonder that  the Arcadia commitment sex offender  prison, previously spun by Jeb Bush’s minions as a "state of the art treatment  center", is a total failure? When our Governor believes that offenders are  perverted and the sickest of the sick, could there be any substantial  rehabilitative effort coming out of Tallahassee? No, there could never  be. Arcadia was designed to fail from  the beginning, as Florida under Republican control  continues to dismantle all supportive and therapeutic services for troubled  families touched by sexual abuse. Governor Martinez, the Republican governor  who preceded Bush, dismantled all sex offender rehabilitative programs in the  prisons statewide, denying every sex offender the assistance that can make all  the difference upon their release. Since 2000, the State has released over  15,000 sex offenders from prison without any treatment. At the same time, the  Legislature continues passing more punitive laws and restrictions, such as the  Jessica Lundsford Act that do little, if anything, to protect our communities.  Studies indicate that punishment does not solve this widespread, pervasive  public health problem, but treatment can and does. So why does Jeb Bush want  to abuse and punish rather than rehabilitate? The proof is in the  pudding…"These are grotesque crimes", says Bush. "They should be put  away…imprisoned forever. That would solve this  problem".
 
     There you have it.  Jeb Bush does not believe in treatment for offenders hence his version of a  treatment program becomes a chamber of horrors. Utilizing smoke and mirrors  and a legal slight of hand the State has created a cesspool of abuse, neglect  and despair, then tries to blame the Liberty Corporation for the massive  problems at the commitment center after the proverbial poop hits the fan. The  "privatization" of government services, touted by Bush as cost effective, has  failed across Florida on almost every level,  but it succeeds in shielding the government from taking direct responsibility  for failure. Similar to Jeb’s brother George W. blaming the abuse and torture  of suspected terrorists on others beyond his direct control, the State can  blame Liberty Corp. for the treatment center’s failure, while pretending  lawmakers weren’t aware of the problems. In reality, the Legislature and the  Governor ignored thousands of warnings, letters, pleas from the families of  the men, lawsuits and reports from their own internal  investigators.
 
     Republican Anex  Villalobos from Miami admitted to the Miami  Herald that the real intent of the Jimmy Ryce Act was to keep offenders locked  up, not help or rehabilitate them. "Sexual offenders were not receiving heavy  prison sentences, that’s what we needed to fix", said Villalobos. Federal  Justice Dept. studies reveal that sex offenders nationwide have the lowest  recidivism rate of any class of prisoners. Shouldn’t this offer hope that even  the toughest cases deserve a chance at rehabilitation? The question begs to be  asked…does Governor Bush want the sex offenders to fail? Why set up a  corrupt treatment scam, strip the men of their civil liberties and extend  their sentences under the guise of helping them, unless the goal was  additional abuse and punishment all along?
 
     When Governor Bush’s  daughter was busted for crack cocaine, didn’t he want to see her get help and  a real chance to turn her life around? How would Jeb Bush tolerate his  daughter being thrown into a hellhole like Arcadia, stripped of her dignity  while being abused by staff and inmates? After she served her time and paid  her debt to society, how would Bush like to see his daughter’s plea bargain  reneged by prosecutors who insisted she wouldn’t succeed in society and needed  to be locked away, maybe indefinitely? How would Jeb as a father feel when his  daughter’s hope for redemption was crushed by state hired counselors who took  what they learned in the bogus counseling and used it against his daughter at  her "commitment trial" to keep her from ever being  released?
 
     Until the  Governor and the Legislature stop abusing sex offenders and denying them  legitimate help, sexual abuse in our society will only worsen. Our Governor  needs to look in the mirror and the sooner the  better.
 
                                   Don Sweeney L.M.H.C.-C.A.P.
 
  
 
                                                                                                    Sympathy for the Devil      
 
       Governor Jeb Bush  recently complained that sex offenders being systematically abused at the  Florida Civil Commitment Center don’t deserve any sympathy. I’ve worked as a  therapist with sex offenders for over two decades and I can tell you the last  thing offenders want is sympathy. Healing damaged emotions and breaking the  cycle of addiction while learning to love in healthy relationships are the  treatment goals of all sex offenders. The Governor’s insistence that offenders  are untreatable underscores the magnitude of lies spread to generate fear to a  gullible and misinformed public. Contrary to what authorities will tell you,  virtually all sex offenders are themselves untreated victims, many of them  sexualized by women (who are rarely apprehended)…a sexist double standard  conspires to keep this fact secret. For boys sexualized by males, our  homophobic culture helps drive this form of abuse further into the closet. And  the fact that almost eighty percent of sexual abuse in America is actually  family, not stranger related, ensures that nothing will be reported, given the  hateful and "punishment only" mentality pushed by lawmakers  today.
 
     Promoting fear and  intolerance has always worked well for tough talking politicians and  law enforcement types, serving their agendas of expansion and power but  actually doing little to effectively address the problem (analogous to the war  on drugs, another law enforcement failure). Cultivating the current stigma  against sex offenders by those in power only fosters increased secrecy and  allows this widespread social problem to multiply exponentially…today’s  untreated victims are tomorrow’s offenders. Sympathy for offenders? How about  empathy for the children and troubled families we continue to harm by branding  this problem with a scarlet letter. 
 
 
 
 
 Don Sweeney L.M.H.C.-C.A.P.
 
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