Texas trying revamped sex offender treatment program

LITTLEFIELD, Texas (AP) — Many of Texas’ most violent sex offenders have been housed for months in a former prison in rural West Texas, and the head of the state agency that oversees the overhauled program believes it will lead to successful rehabilitations.

Texas Civil Commitment Office executive director Marsha McLane says the new program in Littlefield is more intensive and therapeutic in nature. But critics say it’s a warehouse for offenders.

Lawmakers scrapped the state’s old civil commitment program for convicted sex offenders last year due to poor management and ineffectiveness. No one successfully completed it in 16 years.

The new program has four in-patient treatment tiers, and the fifth places them under supervision in the county where they were convicted.

Nineteen other states and the District of Columbia permit civil commitment.

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