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Monday, July 7, 2014

What state sends women who have committed no crime to prison?

Deep blue Massachusetts certainly deserves a commendation for its war on women. It locks them up. The state has found itself in a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU challenging the imprisonment of Massachusetts women who are civilly committed for addictions to drugs or alcohol. The state need not prove a crime merely an addiction.
The lawsuit is brought on behalf of women who are imprisoned at MCI-Framingham solely because they are civilly committed under a law known as "Section 35." Under Section 35, an alcoholic or substance abuser can be civilly committed to a treatment facility if her addiction risks "serious harm." But if "suitable facilities" are unavailable, the law says that men or women can be sent to prison. In the last several years, hundreds of civilly committed women have been sent to MCI-Framingham under Section 35.
One would think Sandinista Governor Deval Patrick would be embarrassed by his burgeoning police state but no. He is rather proud of his state's commitment to totalitarianism. From his remarks at the Re-Entry Forum;
Currently, Massachusetts law allows for individuals who, due to substance abuse and addiction, present a likelihood of serious harm to themselves or others to be involuntarily committed by a judge to addiction treatment. Since 2006, when new facilities were established in New Bedford and Brockton to treat individuals who were civilly committed, there has been a 67% increase in the number of these commitments. The resulting volume has exceeded the inpatient bed capacity of DPH’s treatment facilities. The problem is that, by law, committed individuals without access to a treatment facility are directed to prison. And the prisons don’t have the capacity to handle the increase.
Massachusetts is the only state in the country that holds civilly committed people in prison. I think you know I like for Massachusetts to lead -- but not in the wrong direction. And treating those with substance abuse as prisoners is wrong. We must make the beds available for these individuals to receive proper treatment in proper settings. 

No we would not want Massachusetts to lead in the wrong direction.

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