Minnesota Sex Offender Program
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.
The brutal murder of 22-year-old Dru Sjodin is one of the most notorious crimes in Minnesota history. Alfonso Rodriguez was convicted of raping and murdering Sjodin after she left work on Nov. 22, 2003.
Michael, an offender who molested a 10-year-old girl in 1998, served time in prison before being let out on probation in 2004. Then after five years of treatment on the outside, he violated parole and lied about it. He was then civilly committed.
WCCO’s Susie Jones begins a series of reports on the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, taking us “Inside the Razor Wire.” We begin with an exclusive tour of the Moose Lake facility.
A federal judge is refusing to throw out a lawsuit challenging Minnesota’s treatment system for sex offenders and again suggesting he might scrap the whole program. A judge writes in a ruling that the lawsuit from residents of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program “easily survives dismissal” despite the state’s attempt to get it thrown out.
Attorneys for residents of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program asked a federal judge on Wednesday to declare the program unconstitutional, saying that it is more of a prison than a therapeutic center and that it does not provide appropriate treatment to help its nearly 700 clients attain release.
Three same-sex couples in state custody as sex offenders are seeking marriage licenses under Minnesota’s gay marriage law. The new law is causing thorny questions for state officials who supervise incarcerated people.