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tv   Lockup  MSNBC  February 15, 2015 2:00am-3:01am PST

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due to mature and graphic subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. there are 2 million people behind bars in america. for the next hour, we open the gates. "lockup." >> my particular interest is mostly in latchkey kids. >> i would identify my victims by finding women alone in their home. >> so, i just told myself, i'm going to kill her. >> what do we do with society's
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monsters? the people who for now are too violent, too sick to live on the outside? >> it is male and female voices and knowing what i know, it bothered me. >> we will take you on an extraordinary trip inside of the california hospital for the criminally insane. >> we treat people. we do not cure anybody. >> how do they keep more than 1,000 patients under control? should we lock them up and throw away the key, or is there a better way? >> i don't think that we should stop trying. this is somebody's son that we have here. it is a dilemma that judges are facing all across the country, what to do with people who have served their time, but clearly remain a danger to themselves and others. in california the answer is often a state hospital. it is a sometimes temporary and
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often permanent home to more than 1,000 violent murderers, child molesters, and rapists. men who have been forcibly committed to psychiatric treatment. they have agreed to let cameras in to the facility for a glimpse at what it's like to live and work in one could easily be one of the most dangerous places in the country. only miles off of the central coast of california and quietly nestled among wineries and rolling hills is atascadero state hospital. beyond this unrestricted entrance lives some of the most violent and dangerous criminals. they are considered the worst of the worst. too dangerous to be allowed back into society. over the next hour, you will be able to decide as we take you inside for an extraordinary look at atascadero, california's hospital for the criminally insane.
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>> i don't remember standing in a line anywhere saying i want to be a child molester. >> harry chase is a child molester and his chilling admission can frighten any child and any parent. >> i just told myself, i'm going to kill her. >> richard guest murdered his stepmother. >> now that my dad is dead, i am going to kill her. and that is what i did. i went over to her house, and i shot her. >> even though some patients may never leave atascadero, patrick who admits to raping ten women was released in may 2004. >> i would identify my victims by finding women alone in their home when they were sleeping, when they were most vulnerable. >> officials here have asked us not to show you all of the outside of the hospital, because they take great efforts to keep the patients from escaping, however, regardless of where you look, security is evident. protecting the public and the
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nearby towns are a priority here. so is keeping the majority of the 1,000 patients on medication. this hospital functions as a completely self-contained city. it has its own fire department, police department, and perhaps most importantly, it has its own pharmacy. >> do me a favor, sir, take everything out of your pocket and place it here. >> almost 90% of the patients are on some form of medication, mostly antipsychotic. >> put your arms out to the side. there you are. spread your feet for me, please. >> without medication, it is said that this hospital would be one of the most dangerous places on earth. >> ah-ha! a comb. a comb caper. >> the patients are not shackled or restrained, nor are they
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confined to cells. for the most part they walk freely among the staff and the general population. even the police in the hospital carry no weapons. if there is a problem with the patients, it is considered a medical emergency, not a police emergency. unlike a prison where guards can and do use force, here at atascadero, prescription drugs keep the peace. it's monday morning, and the first of several new patients arrives at the hospital. because weapons are not allowed inside, the transporting officers are told to remove their guns and secure them in a lock box outside. the prisoner is then led from the van and escorted inside of the hospital to admissions. from this point on, he is no longer a prisoner. he's a patient.
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this patient is awaiting sentencing on crimes that would place him in the hospital as a sexually violent predator. we will conceal his identity, because at this point, he has not completed the criminal process. >> we need to look at your scalp. >> upon entrance all new patients are examined for contraband and any signs of contagious disease. the patient then showers. >> does that itching get worse after you take a hot shower. >> the patient is given new clothes and shoes. he is then put through a battery of medical tests to find out what kind of medication he's on and what should be prescribed. >> if you want to come in and have a seat. have you ever had a seizure. >> no. >> have you ever tried to commit suicide? >> no. >> okay. are you mad at anyone? do you want to punch anybody out? do you want to like go after them, assault them? >> does that include the judge?
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no, no, i am just kidding. >> okay. you're a patient now. you're no longer a prisoner, okay? >> the new patient is escorted to the photo lab for his formal identification. here his paperwork is completed. >> we also need to do a change of location form on your registration which entails having you read what your current requirements are as a sex offender. he is photographed for a picture i.d. >> put your back right against that gray panel over there. >> then he is fingerprinted. a psychiatric technician or a sponsor, as they are also called, takes over from here. >> i am assigned to unit six, and what we will do is to take you down to x-ray. everybody gets x-rayed in the facility, and from there up to unit 6. >> on his way to x-ray, the patient gets his first look at his new surroundings.
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inside, the hospital looks more like an airline terminal, brightly lit and impersonal. two huge corridors, each a quarter of a mile long, connect the various wards of the hospital. electric vehicles used for maintenance share the halls with the patients and the staff. at any given time, patients line the corridors for meals, to go into the courtyards, or to go to various groups and activities. lock boxes for police and staff line the hallways. inside are restraints and protective clothing. red lights also line the corridors. when activated, they flash to indicate the location of an incident. >> so, we will have you take a deep breath and hold your breath. >> even though most of the patients have been in and out of prisons, their introduction to the hospital can be an overwhelming experience. it will take nearly a month to fully process a new patient into
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atascadero. carla jacobs, a long time advocate for the mentally ill, says the sexually violent predator should not be housed with other patients at atascadero. >> sexually violent predators are not patients, but they are a legislated disorder and a political commitment. they should not be referred to as patients, because patients can be treated. >> in 1995, after a bitter battle that was settled in the supreme court, the sexually violent predator law was passed. the law gives the judges the discretion to send the most reprehensible sex offenders to atascadero after they have already served their prison sentences. in a sense they are sent here not for the crimes they have committed, but to prevent them from committing any future crimes. critics charge the law is nothing short of
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locking them up and throwing away the key. society may want these men locked up, but the cost of keeping them inside is indefinite. almost $150,000 per man, per year. that's nearly five times the cost of keeping them locked up in any other california prison. proponents of the law say it is money well spent. over the next hour, you will be able to decide as we take you inside atascadero, california's hospital for the criminally insane.
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midway between los angeles and san francisco is atascadero state hospital. atascadero has opened up the doors and allowed tv cameras to bring you this rare glimpse of its state of the art hospital for the criminally insane.
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about 400 of the patients here are called mentally disordered offenders or mdos. they make up the largest population of patients at atascadero, and they have a long history of mental illness and violent criminal behavior. >> i hurt my girlfriend. i hurt my mother. she claims that i knocked her eye out. >> these patients are here on parole. they have already served out their prison sentences, but they are here because they are considered too dangerous to be released back into society. >> it is male and female voices that know what i know and they bother me and needle me and push me and sometimes i can handle it, and sometimes i can't. >> doctors and therapists know for many of these patients, there is no cure for their illness. for these patients, their only chance at a so-called normal life here at atascadero or on
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the outside is staying on medication. >> i have been on every medication that they have and hear voices since 1978. you will stop them for a while, but they will just come back. they always do. >> i enjoy working with these guys, because i believe that people are capable of change. >> chris walter, a registered nurse, and his brother james, a psychiatric technician, work with the mentally disordered offenders. >> one of the main reasons that these guys are in here is that the mental illness played a major part in the crime that they were originally convicted on and a huge part of that is violence. the crime was considered violent or had an element of violence within it. >> in my mind i had already wished her dead so many times. you know, and the only thing that held me back was my dad, i knew that how disappointed my dad would be. >> richard guest was convicted
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of killing his stepmother when he was 16 years old. he was tried as a juvenile and served seven years in the california youth authority. >> my dad used to do everything she wanted. you know, it was like she was manipulating him. and then whenever he wasn't there, i'd get abused by her, so i just told myself, i'm going to kill her. you know, and i don't care what happens to me. now that my dad is dead, i am going to kill her. and that is what i did. and i went over to her house, and i shot her. >> since his release 11 years ago, richard has been in and out of california prisons. he has been sentenced for numerous crimes, including drug abuse, robbery, prison escape and attacking other inmates convicted of child abuse. he was sent here to atascadero more than a year ago after robbing a fast food restaurant. >> well, the question is, what kind of a job does this ad describe? tommy?
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>> kitchen manager job. >> i try not to think of it a as prison. i am trying to think of it as more of a school. you know? >> jamal? >> like a college or a school or something. that is the kind of way i try to picture it in my mind. i don't want to think of it as i am locked up here and doing time here, you know. because then, it is -- that's just the same way i was thinking before. if my thinking doesn't change, then i'm going to -- my behavior is not going the change either. >> it is our job to help assist them to make positive changes in their life, teach them about their illness. >> give them the tools. >> yeah, give them the tools and the education they need to go back out into the community and not wind up back in corrections or warehoused in mental hospitals. >> for 11 years psychiatrist c.j. boyd has worked with the mentally disordered offenders
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here at atascadero. >> we have three years to get you out to a conditionally released program. get you out to straight parole because you've done really, really well, or you don't do well and we can extend you involuntarily at the end of the parole. >> what do employers look for? tommy? >> the knowledge and the skill involved or the task involved. >> it is rare for this group of patients to stay at atascadero for more than 14 months. >> okay. any other criteria that the employer is going to look for? >> even though most of them have a long history of violent crimes, about half of the so-called mentally disordered offenders will be released. >> to make this law work, the patients have to get good treatment here and get the kind of treatment they would get if they were not here and where the medications really well is a skill and a art. >> without medication, most of the patients here would not be able to function much less
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control the violent behavior. atascadero's pharmacy is perhaps the single most important place in the entire hospital. 27 pharmacists and technicians dispense over 12,000 pills a day to the patients in the hospital. that is nearly 12 pills for every patient here, every day. >> currently the hospital has approximately 1,000 patients in the hospital. of those, approximately 700 patients are currently being administered antipsychotic medications. the way that the process works is that the physician will be out on the unit, see a patient, write an order. that order is inputted into the computer by a pharmacy technician. it's then reviewed by a pharmacist for any types of drug-drug interaction, drug-food interactions, allergies. once they feel that the order is
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appropriate, it is validated. we do approximately 270 new orders on a daily basis through that. once the orders are validated, they become part of the patient profile and then it is downloaded to the machine and then the machine dispenses the medication. >> each one of these machines costs approximately $180,000 and holds 248 different kinds of medication. they are called automated medication dispensing systems, and what they do is to spit out a prescribed dose of medication into these individual packets for the patients. without them, the job of dispensing medication at atascadero would be virtually impossible. as it is, each time a canister becomes empty, a technician will refill it, but a pharmacist has to inspect the technician's
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work, verifying the lot number, the expiration date and checking that the right medication is put in the right canister. the pharmacists are always aware that an overdose or mixing the wrong combinations of medications could be deadly. >> the next step in the process is that we fill the medications in what we call a tote bag. those tote bags are locked with the numbered lock and the unit's nursing staff, licensed nursing staff will come down and sign for that tote bag. it will go back to their unit, to their medication room, and it will be administered from that point. >> when we come back, keeping the peace. how do they do it here without armed guards?
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violence is viewed as part of the job at atascadero and since the best predictor of violence is a history of
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violence, atascadero is a laboratory of studying dangerous behavior. on average, the hospital reports four violent incidents every day. >> well, i know that people got to learn to live together and love. that's because someone else told us all about love. >> for 11 years dr. colleen love has headed the clinical safety program at atascadero and her job is to research violence in an effort to reduce it at the hospital. >> i love the whole wide world and then the whole wide world will love me. >> we are working with the big leagues of mental illness here. this is a very challenging population. we have 1,000 patients who 99% of them have violent histories living together in close quarters in a public sector institution. and even people without mental illness would have a hard time tolerating some of the frustrations of a total institution like ours. >> the red light is emissions ready room two.
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red light. >> when an alarm goes off, 12 to 15 staff members and police officers assigned to that particular zone respond. the job of the police is to assist staff members in restraining the patient and aiding in crowd control, ensuring that no further violence erupts. once the patient is restrained, he is taken back to his unit where his psychiatric technician and the unit psychiatrist try to get him to talk about the incident. >> we have to see what is happening with you right now. you have to let us know what is going on. >> the patients are really unpredictable, some, so you have to develop that rapport within 10 to 15 seconds and try to calm the situation before it is out of hand here. >> ah, it works. >> ready for another day.
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>> the police department in atascadero employs about 100 officers. that's three times the number of police the city of atascadero has with a population of 26,000 people. >> the patient for no apparent reason kicked and struck an employee in the face several times. the employee received three stitches above the eye, and they were checking for spinal and neck injury. >> although the majority of the violent behavior is hand to hand assaults, atascadero is not a strange to common devices being turned into weapons of danger. >> this right here looks to a piece to maybe an eyeglass, this part of the eyeglass. the other part was taken off. it's usually covered by plastic all the way up. so that part is taken up, and sharpened and used as a dagger. this device right here, which is quite ingenious actually, was used for an attempted suicide.
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they were able to get a hold of an electric cord and attach a switch which attached to the wristwatch which went around the wrist. he tried to electrocute himself. >> to cut down on the incidents of suicide, room checks are conducted every 15 minutes. >> the warden sent this down to our therapist and we decided to put our hands together and that shows not only harmony, but unity and organization. >> not only to bring violence under control, they have done something unheard of in a facility of its kind. they have organized a patient government. here the patients are elected by the peers to provide perspectives on what provokes violence in the hospital and how best to solve it. >> we are in here as a patient and always finding myself caught up in that sometimes, you know, especially in, you know,
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aggressive situations, you know, it is like, you know, a guy wants to fight, and i'm in limbo. it is like, what do i do? the whole nation wants to come up and lash out. >> in many ways it's like spiritual warfare. it's like our deliberate attempt to take fundamentally right behaviors, compassion and care, and cultivate them in an environment that can then override the dark side of human nature. >> when we come back, we will meet the fastest growing and perhaps the most violent and controversial population in atascadero, the sexually violent predator.
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i'm frances rivera with the top stories. danish police killed a man.
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one was killed in a cafe in copenhagen. hours later, another outside of a synagogue. it appears the man they shot is the lone attacker. up to 2 feet of more snow could hit the new england area. the fourth major storm in less than a month. now back to "lockup." due to mature and graphic subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. atascadero state hospital in california is home to some of the country's most violent criminals. most of the men in the maximum security facility have served their terms in prisons but are simply too dangerous to go free. among them, the nation's largest population of sexual predators. few of them have diagnosable mental illnesses and those who do can't be cured. we are about to go back inside of atascadero where cameras are allowed only on the rarest of occasions.
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this is the place where some say you come face-to-face with evil. this is where about 500 of california's sexually violent predators live. atascadero is home to one of the nation's largest collection of sexually violent predators, and that number is expected to increase. the overwhelming public sentiment is to lock them up, throw away the key, no matter what the cost, just keep them away. since 1995, california has been doing just that. instead of setting the convicted child molesters and rapists free, the state has been locking up the worst of them and only a few of them have been released. >> it is not a matter of whether or not i feel sympathy or not,
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the law says that this particular patient population will come to us for treatment, and that's our job, is to provide them treatment. do you think that we are ready to move unit 20's meal schedule to the way it was? >> grenda is the director of the svp or sexually violent predator unit. for nearly 30 years, she has cared for patients in atascadero. her job is to oversee every aspect of the treatment for these patients. like other patients in atascadero, the sexually violent predators live in single rooms or dorms. the rooms are small, only 6x10 and the windows are lined with metal grates that block the sun and prevent escape. the doors are made of heavy steel and locked from the outside. the bathroom and the shower facilities are shared with other patients in the unit. unlike other patients, these men
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can't be subdued with medication. they are under constant watch by the staff. >> i'm not here to judge my patients' behavior. i'm not here to judge their past. and i'm not here to punish them for what they've done. i'm here to treat them. >> i never asked to be the way i am. i don't ever remember standing in a line anywhere saying, oh, i want to be a child molester. >> harry chase, age 37, has been in the sexually violent predator program in atascadero for only two weeks. >> the legalistic crime is called gross sexual misconduct and also unlawful sexual contact with a minor. i had two victims. both boys. my particular interest is mostly in latchkey kids. i look for the kids that carry the keys in their pocket. i look for the kids that have a
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scruffy hairdo and may not bathe all of the time. maybe in second-hand, hand-me-down clothes. i look towards the family to see exactly where they stand financially, economically, and also sociologically meaning where is the family structure? is the mother and the father living together? if not, perhaps that is something to be used quote, unquote to my advantage. >> harry is one of the few men in the svp population who has a mental illness. his diagnosis, psychosis. he is on numerous medications to help with the symptoms, but harry and the therapist say he is nowhere near being ready for release. >> i will watch certain movies, because certain actors are on them, and when i say actors i refer to anyone less than 18 years of age, river phoenix or elijah wood or something like that. one thing that gets me is that
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our society is so adamant about the adult-child sexual issues, yet they, and as you know, media provides sex for enticement to whatever product they are attempting to sell, and sometimes they present us with children with no clothes on in soap commercials and things like that. those things disturb me. those things disrupt my serenity. i am too young in the recovery to be able to shut off the impulses that go through my body. >> while most agree that they don't want these men living next door to them, many patients' rights advocates argue it is wrong to keep them locked up in a mental institution indefinitely after they have served out the sentences. a class action suit filed by inmates alleges they are being wrongfully incarcerated. matthew hennessey works with the
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svps and he has heard many of the complaints. >> if you try to put yourself in their shoes for a little bit, you can understand why. a lot of the men have been in prison for a long time and had the idea they would be released and then very close to the release date, they are told they are not leaving and they will be going to a maximum security forensic hospital, and they are not exactly sure what situation they are getting into. >> a long time advocate for the mentally ill, carla jacobs, has heard the same complaints. >> the sexually violent predator law pretends that people who have committed crimes have an illness that can be cured, when psychiatry is used to control sexually violent predators, what we are effectively doing is using the psychiatrists as a form of social control when in effect that is the job for prison guards.
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>> i committed my crimes well over 10, 15 years ago. i paid my criminal debt to society. i did without argument. without complaining. i pled guilty. and i went and did my time. as society requested me to do at the time i committed my crimes. >> chris was convicted of child molestation in 1985. he was released from prison in 1988 and reoffended that same year. he was released in 1994 and shortly after that, he was picked up on a parole violation for drug possession. he has been in atascadero since 1997. he doesn't want us to show you his face. >> there is a lot of hype with the megan's law and the registration and the posters going up and stuff, and that is all fine and dandy, but the public ought to be happy to know who is in their neighborhood. they need to worry about who they don't know that's in their neighborhood who is out there molesting their children and
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raping their wives and daughters and sisters and mothers. >> the prison system releases 300 to 350 sexual offenders every month. that is an enormous number of people, and these are people who by and large have not been treated in any way for their sexual acting out. >> that statistic refers only to those released from california prisons. national rates for rape and sexual assault remain fairly constant despite the high cost of releasing sex offenders to state institutions at least 15 other states have followed california's lead and are locking up their sex offenders on indefinite parole. >> we don't talk about cure in any of the areas in which we treat people, but we do talk about bringing symptoms under control. >> there's some more. >> and in our particular commitment we talk about people learning what the high-risk
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factors are, how to understand and control the behavior and exercise controls that they were not able to exercise before, but we do not cure anybody. >> but can a sexual predator really control the violent urges? >> i actually did try to commit suicide yesterday. >> coming up next, a look at the controversial treatments for some of them. >> she is doing what? >> trying to break in the door. >> including a shocking 911 tape that has many of the patients accusing the hospital of abuse. >> why are you here?
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atascadero state hospital in central california is already home to the nation's largest population of sexually violent predators and hundreds more are expected in the years to come. the svps are a unique group of
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criminals with a history of monstrous crimes. they are here at the california hospital for the criminally insane having already served their prison sentences. >> i can distance myself from what they have done, and i think it's not too much different than distancing myself from a patient who has committed murder or has beaten and robbed somebody. if i hold on to that and think about that, then i'm rendered ineffective as a treater. >> well, as usual, we start off with a check-in to see how people are doing. >> very few of these men have a diagnosable mental illness. their violent behavior cannot be cured with medication, instead, treatment consists of helping the patient find and then maintain a level of self-control. in effect, they are taught how to police themselves.
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at atascadero, they use therapy, voluntary chemical castration, and even a state of the art machine that can monitor a patient's sexual arousal. and when this machinery is attached to the genitals, it can record the sexual arousal to videos and stimuli such as children and violent fantasies such as rape. psychologists here agree that many of these men got into trouble because they are unable to feel basic human emotions, so they have counseling sessions and group meetings where the therapists try to teach men how to empathize with their victims, how to feel sorry for them, how to feel their pain, how to feel anything, something, for their monstrous acts. >> last night was a rough night. >> empathy is a learned behavior. it is not something that someone is born with in the egg. >> i actually did try to commit suicide yesterday. >> so, our gentlemen here at the
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hospital have not been shown a lot of empathy in their lives. they come from broken families. >> you have done a lot of positive things. >> and virtually all of them have spent time in prison where empathy is not particularly the order of the day. >> hearing people value you, and your talents and skills and things that you do that make things easier for them. >> so it is important for us to show them empathy, respect and dignity at all times. and empathy is learned by modeling. so it has to rub off essentially from us. >> you are doing? >> he is trying to break in the door. >> one of the more controversial and chilling means used to teach these sex offenders empathy is the use of a 911 call from a woman being raped. we must warn you that although we won't play the tape in the entirety, what you are about to hear is graphic and disturbing. >> he's here. he's here! who are you? why are you here? why? why are you here? no!
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[ phone hangs up ] >> patients break down and cry when they hear the audio tape, and then some patients are angry that we are playing the audio tape. they feel that it's abusive of us and sadistic of us to subject them to something that is so horrible. >> since the sexually violent predator law was passed in 1995, only a few men have completed the program and have been released under monitoring, including convicted serial rapist patrick galotti, and several residents where he now lives, remain fearful. >> i don't go out at night. we keep the drapes closed and you can't control whether he is out meandering around at night or not. >> scared at night now? >> yeah, yeah. >> at atascadero he cooperated fully and took the chemical
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castration drug, the hormone responsible for the male sex drive. in 2002, patrick voluntarily underwent a surgical castration at his own expense. >> the depth of my commitment is going to keep me victimless for the rest of my life. i'm not saying that i'm going to be perfect. i probably will fail in a lot of areas, but in none of my failings am i going to hurt anybody. >> our best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and that will probably stick. if somebody has a history of offenses against children or offenses of rape, there is a certain amount of concern that people should have that's probably healthy. >> court is now in session. >> when we come back, patients who have been deemed incompetent to stand trial are prepared to return to court.
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atascadero state hospital, california's hospital for the criminally insane, is now overflowing with mentally ill prison inmates and people found incompetent to stand trial. this is where the patients who were deemed incompetent to stand trial live when they're sent to atascadero. they're referred to as the 1370s after the state penal code that describes their commitment. the average stay for a patient on this ward is 63 days. >> good morning. how are you? >> this man is undergoing evaluation and treatment for his competency to stand trial for sexual abuse of a child. >> you you understand the reason that you're here at the hospital? >> yeah. >> how are you doing along the lines of your competency? >> i have no idea. >> do you know what competency for court is?
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>> understanding the court proceeding. >> each patient goes through similar reviews at 30, 60, and 90 days. the staff is constantly evaluating the patients' adjustment to his medication, as well as his behavior. >> good morning, how are you today? >> in 1998, the state began a crackdown on hundreds of patients suspected of faking insanity to avoid prison time. armed with new guidelines, prosecutors, judges, psychiatrists, and hospital staff can now better detect those criminal defendants who try to con the legal system by pretending they have a mental illness. but for those who aren't faking an illness, they are treated and medicated so they can stand trial for their crimes. peggy thomas, unit supervisor, has been working with patients at atascadero for 18 years. >> they need to understand all of the roles of the people who are in the court. so we talk to them about the prosecutor and what he does,
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about the district attorney, what his role is. the public defender, the patient's role, the judge's role, so that when we go down to do the mock trial, they get a chance to practice that. >> by the time a patient is ready to take part in his mock trial, his medication has been stabilized. >> court is now in session. >> in this courtroom, therapists and staff members play the role of court officials. >> gentlemen, it's my duty to advise you of your constitutional rights. you're entitled to an attorney in all proceedings against you. if you cannot afford an attorney, an attorney will be appointed to represent you. at no cost to you. >> the people of the state of california against john guzman jr. >> mr. guzman, you're charged with three counts of assault on a non-prisoner with great bodily injury and one count of aggravated battery. do you understand these charges? >> yeah. >> what is your understanding of
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why you were found incompetent in this case? >> most likely either not getting -- cooperating properly with my attorney or my lawyer. >> okay. the records indicated you were paranoid, experiencing auditory hallucinations, and you were exhibiting manic behavior. does this sound like what was going on at the time? >> yeah. >> mr. guzman, are you on any psychiatric medications now? >> yeah. it's helping me out a lot. >> how does this help you? >> it makes the voices and stuff go away. >> no further questions, your honor. >> thank you, you may step down. >> mr. guzman, you pass. good luck to you. you'll go to staffing on thursday. >> okay. >> passing means the patient is ready to return to court to stand trial for his crime. atascadero state hospital with its razor wire and guard tower stationed along the perimeter looks nothing like a hospital.
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no one here talks about curing the patients. instead, they talk of medication, and a lot of it, enough to keep these patients from hurting themselves and others. this is where california sends its criminally insane, those who will be released and those who will never be free. >> people who are probably watching this will find me to be a very distasteful and unpleasant person to be around. the only thing i can say to you is simply this, if i don't get up today and tell you exactly what these people look for, exactly what i look for, exactly how it works, then the next child that gets molested is my fault, because i didn't do my share to try to stop the next guy who needs help. >> i don't look at it as working in madness. i look at it as working where we are able to help people get stabilized on meds and have a better existence than they have had heretofore. >> it's going to be rocky. it's not going to be easy, but
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i'm in it for the long haul and there's not going to be any victims from me again. >> we continue to try to understand this most dark side of human behavior and find a way to assist these patients to control themselves. and i don't think we should stop trying. this is somebody's son, somebody's brother that we have here. some mother's heartbreak. >> in 2001, the supreme court ruled that sexually violent predators can be locked up indefinitely. but some say a loophole in california's sexual predator law allows offenders to gain release through a court hearing rather than completing or in some cases even beginning the five-stage program. california is the only state that requires a court review every two years for those committed. more than 50 offenders have won release this way since 1995.
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that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. its history is bloody. >> we used to have two or three stabbings a day, sometimes even more. >> inmates battle guards on a daily basis. >> i couldn't count how many times i've had to shoot out the tower. >> then a new regime wrenched back control of the prison. >> it's more stable. there's less violence. >> but there are also fewer programs, less time out of the cells, and less hope. >> we've got guys coming in at 17, 18 years old with 80 or 90 years hanging themselves because they can't take it.


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