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February Ruling Says MN Needs to Act on Sex Offender Program

CBS News reports a federal district court judge has ruled that the Minnesota legislature needs to act to fix their Sex Offender Program. The program has locked up over 700 sex offenders with virtually none of them getting out even after they served their prison sentences before being admitted.

The ruling just came shy of calling the state’s program “unconstitutional,” but this ruling also seems to pave the way for some of these offenders to finally be released.

It is a kind of issue that no elected official wants to have to face, especially during an election year.

With over 700 sex offenders completing their prison sentences being locked up in facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake, it was ruled by a federal judge that the program is broken and that the legislature needs to make changes before the courts act.

If the legislature doesn’t do something that will lead to the individuals release, the court will take the matter into its own hands.

Governor Mark Dayton’s efforts to pave the way for one or two to be released last year was met with protests and this put the release of the offenders on hold.

The locked up sex offenders have filed a class action lawsuit regarding their failure to be released. Their attorney acknowledges that the people in the program have been committed there because of horrific acts that they committed in the past. However, he states that the situation is not a constitutional one, as the treatment has been alleged as being a guise that has no intention of letting the offenders go.

With this being an election season, the issue on what to do with the program is one that is being heavily debated. The general public would much rather the individuals in the program remain the program so they are not released into their communities. In the meantime, there are those advocating for the offenders, stating they have been in the program long enough and need to be given another chance.

As for the offenders whose release was placed on hold, one is being released after being detained for 20 years. He was deemed a sexual psychopath in 1993 after the sexual abuse of children and a number of other acts. He was declared a danger to society and was committed to the St. Peter facility after he was released from prison.

Less than a year ago, the man was found likely to reoffend and too dangerous for release. This has resulted in a lot of controversy surrounding the release from the program, although an evaluation showed he completed treatment and should be released. The state is now facing legal action since no one has ever been released from the program before.

Playing a role in the release was an outside independent expert who said that discharge was warranted. There were also three judges that agreed to the discharge, which led to the March 2014 release.