When I first heard that Josh Duggar was coming to FCI Seagoville, I didn’t know who he was. However there are different folks right here at this federal jail close to Dallas who watch quite a lot of TV, and so they all knew: Duggar is the oldest son from the truth present “19 Youngsters and Counting,” and he received arrested final 12 months for having little one porn.
We sometimes get folks which might be high-profile at this facility, and Duggar’s case appears precisely like with different celebrities. Some folks suppose they know you since you’ve been on TV, and all people desires to speak to you.
Like Christopher Epps — the previous head of the Mississippi Division of Corrections — he’s in my unit. We name him Colonel. He’s a pleasant outdated dude. Thomas Rodella, who was a sheriff in New Mexico, was at this jail, too. We known as him The Sheriff.
They ended up right here as a result of the Bureau of Prisons generally sends media-sensitive folks to amenities like this one, which is called a SOMP yard — that stands for Intercourse Offender Administration Program. They ship them right here whether or not or not they’re intercourse offenders. Solely about 60% of the folks listed below are in this system.
As an illustration, The Colonel and The Sheriff aren’t intercourse offenders. They landed right here as a result of these locations are usually safer than common prisons as a result of there are fewer gang members.
In fact, a few of the well-known folks at these SOMP yards are high-profile intercourse offenders. Jared Fogle — the man who was once within the Subway adverts — is at FCI Englewood, which is a SOMP facility in Colorado. And we’re type of anticipating R. Kelly to come back right here.
However right here’s the factor with celebrities: They generate all this exterior consideration. A couple of week or two earlier than Josh Duggar confirmed up right here, we began seeing this media protection about how he was going to get assist in a intercourse offender therapy program. However he in all probability gained’t get therapy till the top of his sentence of 12 years and 7 months as a result of the BOP isn’t actually inquisitive about treating folks — they’re simply making an attempt to make it seem like they’re mitigating the chance that a few of us might pose.
However apart from the dangerous — or, fairly, inaccurate — protection concerning the therapy he was supposedly going to get, there have been the sensationalist, gossip rag articles about how he was fearful of getting attacked. Intercourse offender prisons are simply not like that, and the BOP makes certain excessive profile persons are secure as a result of it’ll be a black eye on the Bureau in the event that they get damage. So that they ship them to the most secure prisons they will, and people are the intercourse offender prisons.
Why are intercourse offender prisons safer? As a result of we don’t are inclined to assault folks for no cause. Certain, we’re painted as people who’re violent and might’t management ourselves — and don’t get me mistaken, there are some right here who can’t — however lots of people are right here on pornography-related fees and don’t have any historical past of bodily violence.
In common amenities, intercourse offenders often aren’t concerned in jail gangs as a result of most gained’t permit them in. Right here, it’s a bit completely different as a result of folks in gangs are within the minority, so they are going to settle for some intercourse offenders to maintain up their numbers. It’s on a case-by-case foundation; it relies on how heinous the crime was.
And the BOP weeds out a few of the actually powerful guys and gang members anyway. When new individuals who aren’t intercourse offenders get off the bus right here, workers doing consumption inform them one thing like, “This can be a SOMP facility, so there are quite a lot of intercourse offenders right here. In case you’re not OK with that, we’ll put you on a bus and ship you some place else.”
They offer them a alternative as a result of quite a lot of the gangs have guidelines that require members to harass the intercourse offenders they stay close to. In case you don’t harass them, you get disciplined and even killed by the gang. So locations like this have quite a lot of gang drop-outs. Some members nonetheless take part in a gang right here, however they actually can’t return and stroll one other jail yard. Often, in the event that they get despatched right here and keep right here, they aren’t actually involved concerning the gang anymore as a result of they’re simply ending the previous few years of their sentence, and so they know they’re getting out.
In fact, that doesn’t cease the gangs which might be right here from getting issues achieved as a result of they act collectively. Gangs and different teams are used to doing that, generally with violence, however intercourse offenders often will not be. So generally we get muscled out of issues as a result of we’re not prepared to behave like “actual criminals.”
As an illustration, take the chow corridor right here at Seagoville. This a part of the power holds round a bit over 1,600 folks. However the chow corridor solely seats round 250 at a time, and the workers desires to get us all fed as shortly as potential. Up till just a few weeks in the past, a few of the gangs that don’t like intercourse offenders had tables staked out. The gangs would possibly let a intercourse offender sit at their desk, however as soon as the man is again on the unit, they might roll up on him 12 deep. It didn’t cease till the workers began making everybody sit down within the order they walked in.
Besides, this isn’t the violent and scary jail the media made it out to be once they discovered Duggar was coming right here. The primary individual I do know who really noticed him was a good friend of mine, a pleasant man who works within the legislation library.
At some point my good friend got here again from work and was like, “Oh, Josh Duggar got here in right now, and I received to satisfy him.” He mentioned he was only a common, good man, however all people was making an attempt to speak to him, so my good friend waited his flip. It’s completely different operating into a celeb who’s not making an attempt to construct their model — as a result of they’re not making an attempt to construct their model in jail.
I’ve solely seen Duggar as soon as myself. We had been on COVID lockdown for months after he received right here, and he and I are on completely different items. After I noticed him, it was simply from a number of ft away, and he was doing a exercise video, so I nonetheless haven’t gotten to speak to him.
I don’t know if he’s nonetheless scared like these tales mentioned, however I wouldn’t ask him. I wouldn’t go as much as anyone who’s frightened and say, “Hey, you don’t received any cause to be afraid!” as a result of he would suppose I’m simply making an attempt to get him to decrease his guard. If I run into Duggar once more, possibly I’ll simply ask him how he’s doing.
Within the meantime, we’ll all go on our means making an attempt to take care of the problems of being warehoused property. We’re simply supposed to sit down on the shelf of the warehouse and never burn it down till it’s time to be shipped some place else.
Anthony Accurso is a author and paralegal who believes carceral punishment solely makes the issue of crime worse. He’s serving a 15-year sentence for downloading little one pornography and can be a daily contributor to Felony Authorized Information.
The Workplace of Public Affairs for the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) declined to touch upon COVID-19 lockdown durations and particular claims concerning the consumption course of for FCI Seagoville. They acknowledged that the “BOP could be very inquisitive about offering intercourse offender therapy” and that it gives two kinds of therapy packages. When requested about how many individuals the eating corridor at FCI Seagoville holds, BOP mentioned it “has an approximate rated capability of 335.”