Safe Choices – introduction
This series looks at a privately operated but state funded program created to deal with people who have two strikes against them: a court has judged them to be mentally retarded, and they have been accused of a sexual offense for which, because of their disability, they cannot constitutionally be brought to trial. Our series, which began in October 2008, deals with “clients” who found the Safe Choices Program humiliating, confining, threatening and mentally abusive. None of our subjects of articles within the numbered series quite fits the definition Safe Choices was created to serve. They had never been formally charged with a serious sexual offense, but instead were suspected of sexual misbehavior and sent to Safe Choices by public or private guardians.
This series garnered a first place award for investigative reporting in the New England Newspaper and Press Association’s Annual Better Newspaper Contest in 2010.
The stories in the series appear here with numbered titles (starting with Safe Choices 1) in order of when they were written.