A privately run treatment center in Arcadia, Fl., for pedophiles and rapists who have completed their prison sentences, where they are supposed to reflect on their crimes and learn to control their sexual urges was described to the New York Times by a forrmer employee as “basically a free-for-all prison.” Offenders had sex and appeared to be drunk, while a high turnover rate among staff members was mostly because of female employees leaving their jobs after having had sex with the offenders. The facility was run until last June by the Liberty Behavioral Health Corporation, which ran the facility, the Florida Civil Commitment Center, and a facility in Pennsylvania.
Nineteen states have laws that allow them to confine or restrict sex criminals beyond prison in a trend that is expanding; legislators in New York last week announced agreement on a new civil commitment law there. The Arcadia story, says the Times in the second part of a series, shows that a $19 million partnership between the state and a company that calls itself “a national leader in the field of specialized sex offender treatment and management” failed to meet a central purpose: treating sex offenders so they would be well enough to return to society. A mental health counselor called the facility “a cesspool of despair and depression and drug abuse – of people being lost.”