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Michael St. Martin, 62, who has been civilly committed for the past 18 years, is a "detainee" at Coalinga State Hospital, where he was sent in 2006, after serving 10 years in prison. He has been designated a "sexually violent predator" or SVP, and will likely spend the rest of his natural life civilly committed there.
At Coalinga, only 36% of the detainees are participating in treatment programs, and St. Martin is one of the patients not participating in treatment. He says he believes in treatment, but that the system at the hospital, where he has been since 2006 after serving 10 years in prison for child molestation charges, is flawed.
“The bottom line is, there is no consistency with treatment,” St. Martin said. “All of public safety is an important factor, don’t get me wrong. But the state has taken the community’s money and they’re not producing that. It’s unconscionable what they’ve done. The Supreme Court ruled that the state has to provide treatment — they didn’t say it had to work.”
St. Martin is an advocate for better conditions in facilities like Coalinga, meaningful and effective sex offender treatment programs, and an end to civil commitment.
He says, "I am being held prisoner through civil commitment by the State of California, using its Department of Mental Health, for crimes that I might commit in the future by people who are actually committing crimes in the present."