A federal judge is scheduled to rule Wednesday on the constitutionality of Minnesota’s sex offender program. Sex offenders sued the state in 2011 because almost no one has been discharged.
For more than two decades, Minnesota’s most dangerous sex offenders have been locked up a second time after serving prison sentences. They’ve been committed to indefinite detention in treatment programs after parole.
Minnesota’s civil commitment program for sex offenders has been under fire for years by people who say it’s unconstitutional because it amounts to a life sentence. A federal judge has pressured state lawmakers to change the program to address concerns, but they have not.
Minnesota lawmakers are getting nowhere over how to resolve constitutional questions about the state’s sex offender treatment program, but the same can’t be said about the program’s costs. They’re going somewhere — up. About 50 new patients enter the program every year, a growth rate that threatens to swamp existing facilities in the next few years. A Senate committee on Thursday will review a request for $7.4 million this year to renovate and expand the St. Peter treatment center; another $30 million or more is on the drawing board for future growth there and in Moose Lake.