Sanchez’s mother worked two or three shifts a day cleaning banks and houses to support him and his older sister.

The family moved around several neighboring towns in New Jersey – North Bergen, Guttenberg, Union City, West New York – sometimes staying a year or more when the income was steady, other times just a few months. “Anger is all I could remember.” In the places Sanchez grew up, the only way to win respect was by fighting, he said. Using violence to solve my problems.” Sanchez shoplifted out of boredom, and his mother would collect him from police departments when he got caught: he picked up a six-month curfew for stealing less than worth of goods in 2006, according to court records.

“We’re effectively handing out life sentences to juveniles under the auspices of civil commitment,” said David Prescott, former president of the Association for the Treatment of Sex Abusers.

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He is among 428 people who have been “civilly committed” at the facility, all of them living in limbo.

Although they have already served prison sentences for their crimes, these inmates have been classified by state psychologists as unfit to return to society.

According to a recent treatment review report, Sanchez remains “highly likely to sexually reoffend if not confined to a secure facility.” Nearly 5,400 people in 20 states are being held indefinitely in civil commitment programs after having served time for sex offenses.

Thirteen of those states allow the practice for people who committed their offenses as juveniles.

Sources: State civil commitment program administrators, Society of Civil Commitment Professionals Network and court records.

All data is from 2015, except Texas and Iowa, where the most recent data available was from 2014.

Two months later, he approached another victim with his penis exposed, pulled down her pants, and grabbed her breasts.

A third victim reported that Sanchez grabbed her and tried to kiss her in the hallway of her apartment building.

About 15 percent of the 579 people who have been committed at Avenel since the program’s inception in 1999 have been discharged to the community after treatment.