Caught! has received a complaint about Mr. Peter Loss who runs a sex offender treatment program at the ACI. The complaint asserts the ACI is not following RI law. The complaint cites Morris v. Travisono 499 Fed 4192 [77-0283] 5 Prison Sec. 12. Evidently, this is the case that makes rehabilitation programs mandatory for all inmates regardless of their classification status. The complaint asserts Mr. Loss is requiring all inmates to sign a waiver. It is asserted anyone running these programs can use and profit from any information obtained during the operation of these programs. [Book deals etc.] Caught! has received a copy of the waiver inmates are asserting they are being required to sign. Caught! is presently investigating this complaint further and will update the story as it develops. Troublesome factors regarding this waiver include but are not limited to the following:
A copy of this complaint was sent to Mr. Peter Loss, the Warden and the ACLU on Oct. 20, 1998 requesting a response, clarification or explanation regarding the above issues. There was no response from anyone at the ACI. The ACLU did respond acknowledging the complaint but stated they were unable to pursue it at this time. It is Caught!'s understanding, this practice continues at the ACI.
August 2005 - I am writing to you to express my concerns
regarding the Sex Offender Treatment Program (S.O.T.P.), run by Mr.
Peter Loss, here at Medium 1 Security, in Cranston, R.I. I am an
inmate serving a 15 year sentence. I have been in prison for 6.5
years. I have also been (and still am) in Mr. Loss' program, in
good standing, for over 5 years. I've become increasingly disturbed
by Mr. Loss' practices. My concerns are as follows:
1) I understand that Mr. Loss is not a licensed psychologist but, he certainly acts in that capacity. It appears that he has immunity, and no accountability to anyone for his practices. He is his own authority.
2) He has delegated authority to, and pays, several inmates, called facilitators and sponsors (who are also sex offenders in the program with psychological issues), to oversee, evaluate, and work in a counseling capacity to other inmates in the program. They make recommendations to Peter, as to whether inmates should receive "good time", or not. More alarmingly, he also asks for their judgment about whether or not inmates are ready to safely handle parole release, and assigns these "sponsors" to gather personal information from inmates, regarding their families and prospective addresses, once released. They are very biased toward fellow inmates (their friends). This is often the mindset of prisoners, in order to "make it through this" (you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours philosophy). In fact, two of his current facilitators have disciplinary records for sexual misconduct, while in the program. This violates Mr. Loss' own contractual agreement he requires inmates to sign, before he will allow treatment! They were never suspended. There is also heavy favoritism in the program by Peter Loss, to certain inmates.
Basically, with Mr. Loss' permission, some of these unqualified inmates are running the S.O.T.P. (especially when Peter has gone home for the day, on weekends, and while on vacation) . These inmates are taking on the responsibility and discernment for public safety. This is a very dangerous situation indeed!
3) There is no completion/graduation date, no time limit to this program, as in most, if not all other states that offer this type of treatment. Therefore, many sex offenders are being denied treatment, due to the long waiting list and low turn-over rate. They are released into society, untreated. This should be of grave concern to the public. There are inmates who have been in this S.O.T.P. for 8, 10, 12 years, or more. Some have been paroled, with Mr. Loss1 recommendation, only to return to prison on a violation of their parole conditions. They are then let back into the program, and allowed to continue to "counsel" others (blind leading the blind?).
4) Mr. Loss does not approve of any private, licensed psychologist to come into the prison to counsel or evaluate inmates in his program, for fear of his "methods" being exposed, and to avoid conflict with differing professional opinions. If you go against his "rule", he has, and will, suspend people from the program, without notice. He has had many disputes with prison staff and colleagues who do not, "see things his way". Upon release, he insists that parolees continue counseling only with his "associates", for an undetermined period of time, who charge a weekly fee.
5) There are about 90 inmates currently active in the S.O.T.P., with Mr. Loss acting as the only social worker to try to accommodate all their needs. Over the years, I have observed this to be an impossible task for Mr. Loss. He therefore has to delegate authority to inmates, some of whom have deeper psychological issues/problems than the people they attempt to provide treatment to. There are cliques, with a "pack" mentality in the "group therapy" sessions, for the purpose of tearing-down and demeaning selected individuals. Personally, I find all this to be detrimental to my own treatment/recovery and overall mental well-being. Many others have shared this same sentiment with me. Mr. Loss often confuses my "issues" and my police report with other inmate's details concerning their crime(s) and "contributing issues". This is unfair, but not surprising, considering he is only one person, struggling to keep track of over 90 cases (as well as over 300 other cases, not in the program). I have made attempts in the past, to respectfully address my concerns with Mr. Loss, only to be confronted by him with extreme arrogance, spitefulness and vindictive behavior.
6) Mr. Loss has openly admitted to storing boxes of inmate police reports in the trunk of his car. Forbid that his car should be stolen, or in an accident and this sensitive personal information about innocent family members/victims (names, addresses, etc.) get into the wrong hands!
7) I have seen documentation that states Mr. Loss was involved in a lawsuit in the State of Connecticut (New London or New Haven?), while working as a counselor some years ago (Late 1980's?), alleging misconduct. This does not surprise me, as I observe his conduct here, and the questionable relationships he has with select (pet) inmates. When he is asked about these concerns (in group, or private setting), he becomes defensive and responds ambiguously, changing the subject quickly. People have learned not to question him about this or other discrepancies, as reprisals have been the result.
8) As part of our "recovery", Mr. Loss forces us to watch movies depicting child rape scenes, in a "video discussion group". I refused to partake in viewing such material, under the threat of penalty, as are others.
9) From my observations over the past five plus years in the S.O.T.P., I believe Mr. Loss to be more concerned with self-glorification, self-preservation, and his own job security, than in actually helping people to recover from their maladies and prevent recidivism.
I am a first time, one incident, one victim, offender, who is an alcoholic and was extremely intoxicated the night of my crime, and I will regret my actions the rest of my life. My full intention and wish, is to never re-offend. I do not believe Mr. Loss' program to be conducive to my endeavor. In fact, others have told me that his "methods" have proven to be a hinderance to their recovery/treatment. I am currently pursuing private counseling by a licensed psychologist at my own expense to help me in my treatment. I am sure to be suspended from the program for this (see item #4 above).
Mr. Loss appoints sex offender inmates as facilitators. These facilitators are being paid by the Department of Corrections to "counsel" other sex offenders and are in charge of assessing their treatment progress. Mr. Loss requires that participants waive all confidentiality rights to enable his facilitators to counsel you. If you refuse, you are removed from the program and receive no treatment. [Note: Many of the inmates lawyers counsel them to NOT sign the waiver of all confidentiality because it equates to a negation of the 5th amendment. Sex offender treatment programs in some states have run into trouble for this very reason.] Facilitators report their assessments to Mr. Loss, who then decides based on facilitators reports:
whether or not the inmates in the program shall receive 3 days a month "good time credits."
whether someone should remain in treatment and/or
if they should receive good or bad recommendations for Parole Eligibility. Caught has received copies of several refusals for parole by the parole board which cited lack of participation in the sex offender treatment program in their decision.
The potential for abuses and injustice given this set up are enormous when the realities of prison life are considered. ACI Director AT Wall has stated that no inmate has a constitutional right to treatment in the sex offender treatment program. The need for sex offender treatment at the ACI is roughly 6 to 7 times the ACI's capacity to treat. This is apparently due, in part, to the fact Peter Loss refuses to "graduate" participants as is common in other states. If your sentence is 20 years, Peter Loss has to treat you for 20 years. This creates a need to force a rotation of participants via "suspensions" for any reason - valid or not. Many inmates believe that money is behind the "no graduation" policy because it keeps the list long and the classes full resulting in more funding. Recommendations by the court regarding sex offender treatment are just that - recommendations which the prison does not have to follow. Yet, inmates are routinely denied parole for not getting treatment in the sex offender program.
Rhode Island Parole Board Policy Statement 4-30-2003 - paragraph 11
SEXUAL OFFENSES & CHILD MOLESTATION: An individual found guilty of a sexual offense will not generally be seriously considered for parole until he/she has successfully taken part in the Sex Offender Treatment Program. The Board will take the recommendation of the Sex Offender Treatment Program into consideration when evaluating an inmate for potential release on parole.
Caught has received NUMEROUS complaints that inmates are removed from the sex offender treatment program by Peter Loss for ridiculous reasons with ridiculous criteria being manufactured as conditions for their reentry into the program. Causes of removal could be a rumor, trumped up charges by anyone in the ACI, Peter Loss' personal likes and dislikes and on and on it goes. Demands for reconsideration for reentry into the program consist of meticulous admissions of erroneously reported wrong doing in minute detail, "responsible and detailed statements" as to the circumstances of the inmates termination from the program, intimate and lengthy diaries being kept and submitted, specific numbers of conversations must take place with Peter Loss' "facilitators", books must be read and reported on while the inmates reading and writing skills are ignored as factors for completion, meticulous goal setting lists with follow-ups and on and on it goes.
Caught has received NUMEROUS complaints that Peter Loss has a variety of ways of threatening inmates if they complain about his program. There are also complaints that Peter Loss uses a variety of coercive measures to get inmates leaving the ACI into fee based counseling with one of Peter Loss' associates. There are also reports of Peter Loss requesting inmates to give bad reports about other treatment programs when said programs were attempting to come into the ACI. It is also believed Peter Loss' program discriminates against the disabled by lacking the ability to adequately administer services which is in violation of RIGL Chapter 87 Sections 42-87-1 thru-- 42-87-5