On Saturday I watched Louis Theroux’s Coalinga: A Place for Paedophiles, a documentary about the Coalinga State Hospital. This hospital houses 850 sex offenders who are thought to be too dangerous to release into general society. I am a big fan of Louis even though I know many people can’t stand him. This episode though really got under my skin.

The whole idea of Coalinga to me seems unethical. Despite the real crimes of the inmates I don’t think the proponents of this system are honouring the constitutional rights of the prisoners (called “individuals” by the staff), especially considering that they are being held after serving their full prison sentences. Trust me, I have two daughters myself, so I take this seriously. But to legally lock a guy up for the rest of his life because of what he may do seems unjust.

Also the ridiculous tests that the “clinicians” give to establish if a prisoner still has sexual tendencies seem like something out of the dark ages. Seriously. For  instance, one of the tests goes as follows. A prisoner has a measuring device installed on his penis and then shown sexually charged (but not nude) images of various people including children. If the guy gets an erection he fails the test. With this test I have major issues. I wonder how many “normal” people wouldn’t also fail these tests. I don’t think it is fair. Essentially many many (if not most people) on earth have impure thoughts about anything imaginable. But there is a massive fundamental difference between thinking something and doing it. I can’t even think how many times have I wanted to bliksem someone without doing it. By all means increase the prison sentences of the offenders for what they have done, but this is wrong.

The hospital gets granted $200,000 per year for every prisoner. Makes a nice turnover of almost $200m!