On the afternoon of Jhon Sanchez’s 18th birthday, three parole officers showed up at his home in West New York, N.J. Sanchez was in his slippers and shorts, and when his mother asked if she could grab her son something else to wear, an officer assured her that Sanchez would be gone only for a little while.
That was five years ago. Sanchez is behind bars, but he is not in a regular prison. He is considered a resident, one who is detained involuntarily and indefinitely at the Special Treatment Unit for sexually violent predators, commonly known as Avenel. He is among 428 people who have been “civilly committed” at the facility, all of them living in limbo.
Although they have already served prison sentences for their crimes, these inmates have been classified by state psychologists as unfit to return to society.
Source: The Marshall Project