A better world is not a place, but a practice: a conversation with Judith Levine and Erica R. Meiners

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[Judith Levine:] Actually, civil commitment is not repaying one's debt to society. The indefinite detention of a "sex offender" in a locked psychiatric facility happens after he completes a prison sentence - putatively to prevent him from committing another offense. Civil commitment is the most extreme facet of the sex offender regime, which also includes long sentences, registration, and the restrictions that go along with them. But the whole regime is based on the same disproven idea - that people who commit sex-related offenses suffer from a unique and incurable psychological illness. The medicalization and criminalization of sexual deviance goes back centuries. As recently as the 1960s, homosexuals were subjected to cruel "cures" and incarceration. The diagnosis that allows a state to civilly commit someone was invented in 1990: a "sexually violent predator" is defined as someone with a "mental abnormality" that predisposes him to sexual violence. But if this patient is incurable by definition, they are never well enough to be released, and most never are. Condemned by the American Psychiatric Association as the misuse of psychiatry for punitive purposes, civil commitment is preventive detention.

source: Interview 'A Better World Is Not a Place, But a Practice: A Conversation with Judith Levine and Erica R. Meiners' by M. Buna; lareviewofbooks.org/article/better-world-not-place-practice-conversation-judith-levine-erica-r-meiners/; Los Angeles Review of Books; 7 August 2020