Minnesota Sex Offender Program
A federal judge’s declaration that Minnesota’s civil commitment setup for sex offenders is unconstitutional has raised serious questions about whether prosecutors can keep asking the state’s courts to send more offenders into the program as they approach release from prison.
Despite a sternly worded ruling from a federal judge that many of Minnesota’s sex offenders who’ve served their sentences could be long overdue for release, they’re likely to spend many more months — maybe even years — in the state’s civil commitment program.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Minnesota’s sex offender treatment program is unconstitutional, saying it violates the “fundamental rights” of more than 700 people locked up indefinitely after completing their prison sentences.
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A federal judge plans to rule next week on a constitutional challenge to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
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.
A federal trial over the constitutionality of Minnesota’s sex offender program heard Thursday from a man who was a juvenile when he was locked up and was later sent into treatment.
A federal judge is closer to deciding if it’s constitutional to keep Minnesota sex offenders in custody indefinitely. Only three offenders have been released from treatment.
For the first time, we’re hearing from patients in Minnesota’s sex offender program. They say the state’s system of treatment is broken. It’s the second week of testimony in the class action lawsuit, which seeks to have the program ruled unconstitutional.
A federal judge has rejected a motion to strike testimony from four court-appointed experts who’ve said at least some of the more than 700 people civilly committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program should be released.
A high stakes federal court trial started Monday in St. Paul that could eventually result in the release of civilly committed Minnesota sex offenders. Right now, about 700 high-risk offenders are locked up even after they served their prison sentences. They’re considered likely to offend again if they ever get out.
Testimony begins Monday in a lawsuit that could bring big changes to Minnesota’s sex offender program. In Minnesota, there are 700 sex offenders kept away in indefinite treatment, more than in any other state.
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.
Experts reviewing Minnesota’s civil commitment program for sex offenders are recommending that staff begin creating plans to discharge clients when they are first admitted to the program, and that residents be periodically evaluated to ensure they meet criteria for confinement. The recommendations are among dozens issued Tuesday by experts who have spent months evaluating residents, treatment standards and polices at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
Experts reviewing Minnesota’s civil commitment program for sex offenders issued dozens of recommendations in a report issued Tuesday, including individual evaluations of each resident to ensure compliance with the criteria for confinement.
The sexual abuse started early for Rhonda Bailey, her father constantly visiting her bedroom when she was as young as 5. She gave birth to her first child at age 14, unsure whether the father was her dad or another relative, court documents say.
Four experts appointed to evaluate a Minnesota program that confines some sex offenders to high-security facilities even after they have served prison sentences said they need more time to complete their work.
Experts appointed to evaluate the Minnesota Sex Offender Program testified Monday that they found several people similar to a man whom that they say should be immediately freed without restrictions — and they plan to issue findings on those people by the end of the summer.
Federal hearings in July will focus on whether one man in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program should be released. U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank and U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey Keyes put the man’s case on a fast track after attorney Dan Gustafson argued that every day his client is still confined is a violation of his rights.
Officials with the Department of Human Services disagree with experts who say a man in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program should be immediately released, arguing in court documents Wednesday that he is still a danger to the public and still in need of treatment.
Experts evaluating patients at the Minnesota Sex Offender Program say one man should be freed because there’s little evidence to show he’s a risk.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has taken the unusual step of reversing the commitment of a man to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program and sent the case back to a lower court for further proceedings. The high court reaffirmed Wednesday that courts must find sex offenders “highly likely” to reoffend before civilly committing them to the secure treatment program, which is the subject of a constitutional challenge in federal court and debate at the Legislature.
In Minnesota, there are 700 sex offenders kept away in indefinite treatment, more than in any other state. A federal judge warned that some of those men need to be let go because parts of the program are unconstitutional.
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.
Minnesota lawmakers have a difficult job ahead. They must decide what to do about the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, now that a federal judge has ruled that it is broken and in need of repair.