SEGMENT 5 – AN AX TO GRIND

GUEST BLOG #5 by a Resident at the Texas Civil Commitment Center; 04-16-2021

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Every time Marsha McLane has the opportunity to punish all of us for the actions of a very few, it becomes abundantly clear that she can’t make sound decisions for us.  Treatment is touted as individualized, when in fact it is global.  She certainly has an ax to grind having been married to and having children with a sex offender.  She can’t punish him or make his life miserable but she can certainly project those feelings onto us.  It becomes clear that every time someone breaks a rule here the upper TCCO echelon overreacts and reacts immediately.  However, when residents are doing right there is absolutely no urgency to move them forward.  Several men have been waiting six plus months to advance.  If a resident gets caught breaking the rules they make a beeline for the facility.  

Several years back the American Psychiatric Association created a task force on sexually dangerous offenders stating: “We were concerned that psychiatry was being used to preventively detain a class of people for whom confinement rather than treatment was the real goal.  This struck many people as a misuse of psychiatry”.  It’s clear to most of us that we are here for many other reasons than treatment.  To name a few, money, politics, and the personal vendettas of the individual who administers this program – a program riddled with corruption.  As I mentioned in segment 4 the contraband phones and pornography come from staff.  In the last two days three officers were fired.  Two had nude photos on a contraband phone a resident had and one failed a drug test.  MTC’s vetting process seems to need a little more scrutiny and although I don’t condone this behavior I don’t feel that the other residents that are doing the right thing should have to suffer for it.  Last week, a resident was found with porn on a SD card watching it in a community area.  The response to that was to take everyone’s electronics on that cell block.  Yesterday a resident was caught with an illegal cell phone and the response to that was to take all of C Wing’s electronics away and lock them down with no recreation.  Therefore 75 men are sitting in their bunks twiddling their thumbs because of the actions of 2 officers and 1 resident.  

Tier 3’s and 4’s are allowed to have smart phones and pay extra money for parental controls to monitor and block access to the internet.  TCCO can see the screen of every phone in the facility at any time and for the most part, residents act in accordance with the rules.  Yet they still picked up all the cell phones yesterday, threw them all in a box and went through the phones.  Many residents have flip phones with only the function of making and receiving calls, and their phones were collected too.  

How can you call this a treatment facility when staff continues to encourage sexual deviant and unhealthy behavior?  How long are elected officials going to allow this injustice to happen?  

ALM 300

15 thoughts on “SEGMENT 5 – AN AX TO GRIND

  1. Thank you for keeping the public informed. Please do not lose hope because there are many on the outside doing everything they can to make changes. I know this can seem like nothing is happening because you don’t get all of the information about what is being done, but I assure you there are plenty trying to move the bar even an inch or two. Stay strong.

    On Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 10:14 AM LOST IN LITTLEFIELD wrote:

    > moosejaw72 posted: ” GUEST BLOG #5 by a Resident at the Texas Civil > Commitment Center; 04-16-2021 > ___________________________________________________ Every time Marsha > McLane has the opportunity to punish all of us for the actions of a very > few, it becomes abundantly” >

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  2. Thanks for sharing – How are the Texas elected officials being kept informed? Of elected officials who are informed of these horrific situations, are they engaging/responding?

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    1. We have reached out to every elected representative and senator in Texas. A few responded, but with little actionable statements. The engagement has been low, but we are hopeful that we have raised awareness and have some looking more closely at TCCO throughout the legislative process.

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  3. Things aren’t always as they appear or what is spread around the rumor mill……often the gossip is juicier than the truth. I had a hard time keeping quiet when I was there and I’m not quiet now. I never held anyone’s past against them………see if it goes both ways now.

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  4. The residents inside the Littlefield, TX facility are there for counselling and therapy due to sex abuse, sex addictions, or other sexual related concerns. Some had earned enough privilege to have cell phones with limited internet access. This was a privilege that has been discovered to have been abused. This has resulted in negatively affecting most of the residents inside that facility.
    Sadly, adult porn was found on several resident’s personal electronic devices which some residents had the privilege of having inside the Littlefield facility. They have to show progress in their treatment to merit the privilege of even having those personal electronics. This porn was, and/or could have, been played on private devices and potentially on the common area televisions.
    Most likely, this abuse started by downloading porn onto a cell phone and then connecting it to a television (or just watching it on the cell phone). THIS IS VERY DETRIMENTAL TO RESIDENTS WHO ARE SINCERELY SEEING THERAPY.
    Basically, a few bad apples that broke the rules while going through therapy hurt the entire group. This demonstrates a lack of progress by these violators and reflects badly on others that COULD be affiliated with those violators. It actually reflects a regression of therapy not a progression. This COULD be considered a felony and wind them back up into the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
    MP3 Players, MP4 Players, Cell Phones, & Smart Televisions were taken from the residents for review and investigation, more specifically, ANY devise that could download data, upload data, and/or store data. The residents were each given copies/vouchers of the articles taken for investigation. All devises had to be confiscated since it is so easy to transfer data, copy to flash drives, etc. It will take quite a bit of time for I.T. to check out all the electronics and the innocent will just have to wait. Again, this review will take knowledgeable people to review and search and may take considerable time. At this point, I do not know if this investigation is going to have to pull out of the facility’s budget, if they are going to hire an outside I.T. expert, or what.
    Cruel and/or uninformed (and too lazy to find out) TCCO and/or MTC employees MAY have not known and told the residents that they were NOT going to get their property back. This resulted in the residents to start calling out to family and friends and complaining that their electronics were confiscated and claiming that they were being informed that they would NOT get back their personal electronics. Sadly, they are only sharing partially correct information. If they were not doing anything wrong and kept their electronics secure from other, then they will get their electronics back. This is just common sense.
    I have been assured that these items will be returned based on their findings. Obviously, those abusing the rules may not get their electronics back until they demonstrate improvement/progress in their therapy. Those found guilty MAY also be given the option of sending them to their family members if they are not permitted to have them based on the results of the investigation.
    The guilty should be punished (by appropriate means) and the innocent should be given all their electronics back in good, working condition as soon as reasonably possible (i.e., not damaged by the staff or investigation team). Additionally, the residents should e kept informed about the progress of the investigation so they will know approximately when they will get their property returned to them.
    I do not know the results of this in-progress or upcoming investigation and I doubt it will ever be publicly published. The residents are simply going to have to be patient!

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    1. Mr. Milford,
      I don’t disagree that privileges should certainly be revoked for those that have brought in contraband and especially anything that would be detrimental to the men that are being held at TCCC. I DO argue that therapy is a very loose term at TCCC. The men have gone months without treatment. The consistency of therapy is often interrupted and even started over because of changes in the curriculum or turnover in staff. By changes in curriculum, I’m speaking of starting an entire new program that consists of new books but strangely, they all consist of the same subjects as the old books. The worksheets are the same too, except for the page numbers and titles. TCCO dictates what the therapists write in their notes. More men have died in this facility than have completed the “program”. I would be cautious when calling anything done at TCCC therapeutic.
      I agree that those involved in breaking rules may need to be punished. However, TCCO and MTC need to attend training on what is “Appropriate
      Consequences”. An hour outside, locked in a 12X12 dog cage isn’t appropriate for anyone. Placing an ankle monitor on men when they’re in trouble then taking it off after many months, makes me wonder why they wear the ankle monitors at all. Obviously it’s NOT for safety reasons or they’d need to wear them at all times. Correct? If TCCO was worried about the safety of Littlefield residents, wouldn’t the men need to wear them constantly? Right now, only tiers 1 and 2 wear the ankle monitors unless you’ve broken one of the endless rules. Does this mean tiers 1 and 2 are digging tunnels to the outside? This makes me question the reasoning of the ankle monitors. I know the men have to pay for them- this is just MORE money going to TCCO. The men even leave group to take care of the ankle monitors. So they are more important that therapy! Why??
      Let’s talk about progressing those men that have met the requirements to move up in tiers time and time again only to be held back…This also supports the FOR-PROFIT model of filling beds NOT treatment and progress.
      I agree that it will take time to review devices that could have been used to obtain inappropriate material. I also know that TCCC has been known to “lose” items belonging to men on a regular basis- clothing, reports, work, grievances that were filed, and on and on and on.
      While we’re on the subject, TCCO has close to 400 men detained in a very small space. These men only get to go outside for 1 hour each day, which is sadly comparable to solitary confinement. These men aren’t in prison, although they are being detained in a prison and being treated like prisoners! There are no classes for these men to take to keep them busy. There’s no art class, shop class. They have therapy twice a week. That’s it. TCCO has taken everything the men had to occupy their time, and now TCCO/MTC are telling them it’s going to take a long time to look through all the electronics and to stay out of trouble (sitting and looking at the walls?).
      I think we can all see TCCO trying to pull the rug out from under these men, trying to trip them up so they can say, “Look, we were right. They aren’t ready to leave.”
      I’m so glad you brought up “common sense”. NOTHING that goes on at TCCC is built on common sense. For instance, TCCO being led by the ex-wife of a man that sexually offended; a TCCO Board member that is a victims’ rights advocate and is in charge of making decisions about a man that killed her sister; a treatment program that has released virtually no one since it’s inception; a turnover rate of therapists and employees that cannot lead to any consistent treatment or care of these men; a for-profit shadow prison that makes money off men that have served their sentences, and on, and on, and on. If you think TCCC keeps their word and treats these men fairly, you are the one that knows very little about what goes on there.
      And yes, they do need to be patient about the electronics. I totally agree. So, let’s talk about patience. What kind of patience does it take to be committed to a shadow prison with no clear path to release? What kind of patience does it take to see no end to incarceration AFTER you served your sentence handed down by a judge and jury? What kind of patience does it take to be the only class of offenders subjected to civil commitment (murderers get second chances…)? What kind of patience does it take to have no idea what your future holds tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, next decade? Patience, huh? Your focus on this one isolated event misses the whole picture- NO CLEAR PATH FOR RELEASE!

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  5. My heart goes out to all the men there. While I was not a sex offender at the old, Dallas “Way back House” in downtown….I watched in disbelief at how the staff (Ran by John Kelly) treated the Civil Committed back then.

    I wish you could get attorneys all the violations that are so apparent. Taking 33 percent of GOVERMENT stimulus should be illegal. If this money is not considered.
    ” income”, then how can the seize it. You guys need some (perhaps law students) to seriously get your issues- all of them- to the courts. Keep fighting for your future.

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    1. I absolutely agree, Mr. Taylor. It is so sad the way TCCO is robbing the men in the facility, and not just the men but also their families. We have talked to several lawyers about the 33% and many other unbelievable acts that TCCO seems to be getting away with. The lawyers didn’t seem interested in moving forward. We have talked to a few people working for the NAACP in Texas. They didn’t seem too concerned either. These activities are blatantly illegal! It’s so shocking that people just turn their head like nothing is happening. Wrong is wrong…is wrong. Why is it ok to mistreat, rob, malnourish, belittle, gaslight, and outright lie to a group of individuals because you (speaking about the people in charge) don’t agree that they should ever be released. I, personally, have a problem with murderers being released. I know I should never be on a committee that’s involved in Decision Hearings for those people because I have a bias. That’s not the case when it comes to TCCO and nobody has said anything for years! Nobody has seen a problem with McLane being in charge of these men and calling ALL the shots. Senator Whitmire said in the article that was released in the Houston paper that he doesn’t think it would be a problem for her to keep her personal feelings out of her decisions. That is what the men in the Littlefield facility are learning! McLane knows that if she knows anything about the program she claims is worth 95 MILLION DOLLARS from tax payers! That’s a whole lot of money to ask us to pay when nobody seems to be going home.

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      1. THAT RIGHT THERE IS HOW THEY GET AWAY WITH THIS! No lawyer wants to take on the Great (yeah, right) State of Texas, specifically TDCJ-TCCO. If a billionaire would fund them, I’m sure they would gladly take the case on and fight like crazy. They only care about their pocketbooks and their reputations!

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      2. Yes, you’re correct. That’s why we’ve been calling and emailing Senator Whitmire, and actually we’ve sent emails to EVERY senator and representative in the Texas Legislature before February. We heard back from a few but most were obviously uninterested or, most likely, uninformed. I have called several senators during the past year and all but one had no idea what civil commitment was. They’d never heard of it. TCCO is buried so deep in the Health and Human Services Budget (approximately 2000pgs) that no senator or representative reads that far. We’ve called repeatedly and tried to educated them about what’s really going on.
        We’ve tried to get the Texas NAACP involved. We’ve tried to get families together, but we don’t have phone numbers, names or cities. We’d like to get the family members on a large group chat. That way we can share information without all the rumors going around and lies that TCCO gives to the men and families. We’re still working on that.
        We can always use more help calling and emailing. If you know any billionaires, please let them know we could use their help! Maybe they could write it off on taxes. LOL

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    2. We have spoken to attorneys about what’s happening inside the facility. It’s hard to make people understand how bad it is unless they see it themselves. When TCCO and MTC lie about it and back each other up, things seem like it’s the men that are causing the problems, and honestly, people are more likely to believe it’s the men only because of their convictions. Sadly, this will be what happens everywhere they go. I have suggested to a few that the wearable cameras wouldn’t be a bad idea when they finally get out because they will need protection and alibies. They will be the first accused if anything happens. It’s happening now inside the facility. I’m not saying all the men are ready to leave, but there are PLENTY of men that are ready and have been ready to get out! TCCO has taken years of their lives away from them. TCCO accuses these men of ridiculous things when the officers are acting like teenagers- having affairs, cussing, talking horribly about certain men in the facility, listen and spreading rumors, etc. TCCO wants the men to be above any of this behavior, but they are surrounded by others that are modeling inappropriate behaviors. What is that saying- “Do what I say, not what I do”. We know that doesn’t work. Now, for the men that are in the higher tiers, they have been in the program from anywhere between 5years and longer. They KNOW what to do to keep themselves safe and away from this kind of mess.
      What’s really said isn’t the behaviors. It’s the program itself. It was created for the men to fail. With that, you have case managers and others inside TCCO that make sure the men will fail. TCCO reads every note the therapists put into the computer- every note about their classes with the men. Every note about their individual sessions they have with the men. If TCCO doesn’t like what the therapists write, if it’s too positive, if it sounds like the men are doing too well too quickly, TCCO makes the therapists CHANGE what they wrote in their session notes!! I’m not sure this is even legal! Just another instance the attorneys should be taking notice.
      The 33% is only one instance that shows TCCO taking THOUSANDS of dollars from tax payers that have already paid taxes on those items! We have been looking into this agency for over a year, and there is NOT ONE aspect of the agency we have found that isn’t corrupt. Not one.
      https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2019/jun/10/courts-censure-civil-detention-practices-it-time-professionals-speak/

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      1. I agree with what you are saying although I do not understand why you attached a link on something from back on June of 2019 (almost two years old).

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      2. This man was president of the SOCCPN organization. He is very active in the therapeutic community.
        He states that the program was MADE TO FAIL. He asks when are we as therapists going to stand up and admit that we know this program…. I’ll let you find the rest in the article.

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