Minnesota Sex Offender Program
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.
Lawyers have filed motions asking a federal judge to declare the Minnesota Sex Offender Program unconstitutional, move the people in it to less restrictive facilities and appoint a court officer to oversee the program.
The Department of Human Services says a man committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program has killed himself. Deputy Commissioner Anne Barry says he died Saturday at the program’s Moose Lake facility. She says it’s the only known suicide in the history of the sex offender treatment program. Citing privacy laws, the department declined to identify him or say how he killed himself. Sex offenders who are civilly committed to the program when they complete their prison sentences are considered patients, not inmates.
A federal judge has certified a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program as a class action on behalf of everyone committed to the program.
A convicted rapist won’t gain more freedom from a Minnesota program that confines more than 600 dangerous sex offenders after they leave prison.
A House committee is holding a hearing to examine the provisional discharge of a man who spent nearly 19 years in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
Sixty-four-year-old Clarence Opheim is scheduled to be the first person ever released from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, but there are still concerns from lawmakers about whether it’s safe.