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A look at Josh Duggar’s potential federal prisons

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA / KFTA) – After Josh Duggar, 34, was sentenced to over 12 and a half years in federal prison on May 25 for possession of child pornography, the next order of business before the court was starting to determine exactly where he might spend that term of incarceration.

Donald Murphy, a spokesperson from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Office of Public Affairs, told KNWA that the bureau “designates individuals to institutions based on a number of factors. Some of the factors include the level of security and supervision the inmate requires, any medical or programming needs, separation and security measures to ensure the inmates’ protection, and other considerations including proximity to an individual’s release residence. ”

In the Western District of Arkansas Federal Courthouse in Fayetteville, Judge Timothy L. Brooks listened to a short list of federal prisons offered by defense attorney Justin Gelfand. Brooks quickly narrowed that down to a pair of likely choices: Seagoville and Texarkana.

The judge noted that his preference would be Seagoville, if they have space available, due to their “high-end treatment program” for sex offenders. He added that he would recommend to the prison that Duggar be allowed to participate in that program if sent there.

Federal Correctional Institute (FCI) Seagoville is located in the southeastern corner of the Dallas metro area, approximately 350 miles away from where Duggar was sentenced.

Seagoville is described as “a low security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp and a detention center” on the Bureau of Prisons website. It is home to 1,740 male inmates, with 96 of those located at the institution’s camp. In 2020, it suffered a severe COVID-19 outbreak, with over 1,300 prisoners testing positive.

A 31-page document online details the prison’s sex offender programs, including specific components and policies.

The Bureau recognizes sex offenders as a vulnerable population within a prison setting. Institutional assignment, unit management, Psychology Treatment Programs, and re-entry planning promote the well-being of sex offenders while incarcerated and help both offenders and society by reducing the likelihood of re-offense after release.

Bureau of Prisons, Custody & Care of Sex Offenders policy

Seagoville’s program “consists of outpatient groups meeting 2-3 times a week for several hours,” and it takes 9-12 months to complete. The “moderate-intensity program” allows participants an opportunity to “learn basic skills and concepts to help them understand their past offenses and to reduce the risk of future offending.” The program description notes that it is offered to “offenders evaluated to have low to moderate risk of reoffending.”

Judge Brooks stated at sentencing that “the court does have concerns” about recidivism. In a sentencing memorandum submitted to the court, the prosecution cited a study showing that sex offenders are “four times more likely than other violent criminals to recommit their crimes” and that “recidivism rates do not appreciably decline as offenders age.”

The “expected results” of the program include these four objectives:

  • Treatment programs that provide sexual offenders in Bureau institutions the opportunity to change behaviors, thereby reducing criminality and recidivism.
  • Specialized correctional management practices to address behavior that indicates increased risk for sexual offenses upon release.
  • Evaluation services to appraise the risk of sexual offenses upon release and provide recommendations for effective reintegration into the community.
  • Transition services for sexual offenders released to the community.

After he serves his prison term, Duggar will be subject to 20 years of supervised release, including several special conditions imposed by the judge at sentencing.

FCI Texarkana is another low-security correctional institution, located in Texarkana, Texas, approximately 240 miles away and just across the state border from southwestern Arkansas. According to the BOP website, it houses 1,143 male offenders, including 134 at an on-site camp.

It does not offer the same program for sex offenders. Its facilities include law libraries and a commissary.

On the BOP website, FCI Texarkana posted a 2021 115-page audit report on its efforts to enforce the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The facility has ten general population housing units and 35 “segregation cells” for administrative, disciplinary and protective custody needs.

The audit report notes that inmates “receive information explaining the agency’s zero-tolerance directive regarding sexual abuse and sexual harassment” during intake.

The Bureau of Prisons has not announced a timetable for Duggar’s transfer to a federal facility.

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