In Massachusetts, the state can imprison you without convicting you of a crime. The law that authorizes civil commitment for drug and alcohol treatment is called Section 35. Prisoners at the rehabilitation center are called patients. Does that make you think of the Soviet Union, or what? If the communists had any reason to lock you up, they would commit you to a hospital, where they could keep a close eye on you. They called prisoners patients there, too.
I didn’t even know I lived in a state where this kind of thing could happen. A few days ago, nine ‘patients’ escaped to a nearby state forest from a drug and alcohol treatment center in southern Massachusetts. For two days, police had their dogs and helicopters out to recover their wayward convicts, I mean patients. Naturally, officials said they wanted to capture the escapees for their own safety. Of course, that’s why the state committed them to the facility involuntarily in the first place: for their own safety.
In Wisconsin, a woman was placed in solitary confinement after the state nabbed her for taking drugs and alcohol before she became pregnant. She voluntarily told medical staff about her alcohol and drug use, and before she knew it, she was locked up, and denied prenatal care to boot! In that case the state claimed they wanted to protect the health of her unborn baby.
If I hear any more stories about all the different ways the state can lock you up for your own protection, … I think I’ll go to a beach, dig a hole, and put my head in it. Would anyone dare commit me involuntarily for that?
I have to tell you, if I hear any more stories about all the different ways the state can lock you up for your own protection, or threaten to lock you up, or lock you up and then let you go, or let you go and then lock you up again, I think I’ll go to a beach, dig a hole, and put my head in it. Would anyone dare commit me involuntarily for that?
Federal agencies, state departments of human services, or whatever authority wants to protect you in a particular case, apparently act without restraint. They love proceedings where attorneys have no recognized place. Moreover, if you are lower middle class and can’t afford a lawyer, or even if you can afford one, you can forget about dealing with rational people who know how individual rights are supposed to work. These are people who seem to have read Kafka in the third grade. They arrest school children if students inadvertently bring something to school that some hidden official decided they shouldn’t have. Because those children threaten everyone.
How can we protect ourselves from this kind of treatment? Keep your head down. Don’t look an official in the eye. Wear the kind of hoods you see The Handmaid’s Tale.
Tamara Loertscher gave birth to a healthy baby boy in 2015. Then she challenged the Wisconsin law that nearly kept them apart.