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Oct192011

Clock Without Time

The Massachusetts Treatment Center is a low-profile angular brick structure located in a "correctional complex" in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.  Bridgewater is also home to Bridgewater State College, a state-run small college of long-standing, which gives the center of the town somewhat of a college-town atmosphere, a few small shops here and there catering to college students which would not exist but for the college crowd; and larger than usual groupings of college-aged students.   

But the town is likely best known for its "Correctional Complex" located about five miles south of town along Route 18.  A visitor takes a left off 18, and enters a road winding through lowland and scrub only to shortly enter a broach swath of cleared land filled with various jails, prisons, mental hospitals and treatment centers.  Old Colony Correction Center ("OCCC" in the vernacular) is first up, housing felons of various types, usually of lesser threatening nature.  Behind are large brick structures covered with ivy and missing walls, which guards say are the remains of older institutions since replaced.  At the end of the road is the Massachusetts State Hospital, which houses, amongst others, those who are in common parlance criminally insane.  Entering the State Hospital is in itself somewhat intimidating, but that is for another blog entry.

In between OCCC and the State Hospital, on the right, is the Massachusetts Treatment Center.  The TC, as it is known, houses sex offenders, the scourge of the criminal justice system and indeed the scourge of society.  Many if not most of those committed here are not doing time for any crime.  In fact, most have long-since completed any punishment meted out for whatever sexual crime they may have done, the majority pedophiles.  These men, they are all men, are held for what they might do upon release.  It is an odd law, being held captive for what may happen, but the idea has won approval as constitutionally sound by all courts, and most states have such laws.  

The TC has as its entry a newly repaired concrete stairway of two levels.  The prior stairway had been in disrepair for some time, half blocked from use by wooden barriers, and the useable part marred with shattered concrete and broken stairs.  Upon entry to the TC, one is greeted by an expanse of mahogany-like or perhaps mahogany benches with a wide triangular centerpiece.  The centerpiece had been replete with flora until recently, when it was removed for some unknown reason.  

The TC is a village of the damned.  A purgatory between crime and punishment.  Time, criminal justice has stood still.  

Just before entering the main visiting area, if one turns, there is a clock above the TC entryway.  It has no hands.  It has been in that condition during the time and viewed by this writer.  Appropriate.  

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