Here’s an idea! Bring back the death penalty for repeat sex offenders, that would solve a couple of problems.

State pushes back against proposed reforms to Minnesota Sex Offender Program
By Chris Serres, Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sep 22, 2015 at 6:31 p.m.

State officials are pushing back against a series of proposed reforms to Minnesota’s troubled sex offender program ahead of a high-profile court hearing next week.

Citing concerns about costs, staff shortages and community opposition, administrators of the program argued in court filings this week against reforms that could accelerate the release of sex offenders from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP). The program currently holds about 720 sex offenders indefinitely at secure treatment centers in Moose Lake and St. Peter. In June, U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank declared the program unconstitutional and called on state leaders to propose reforms or face solutions imposed by the court.

In an affidavit filed in federal court Monday, state Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson denounced as “impractical and costly” a proposal that the state perform independent risk evaluations of every MSOP detainee to determine if they are still dangerous enough to remain locked up. Jesson also cited costs and local community opposition as a barrier to developing less-restrictive treatment facilities in the community.

Attorneys for the state have argued that the program is constitutional, and have declined thus far to propose any remedies.

The state’s filing sets the stage for a combative hearing on Sep. 30, when top state officials and attorneys for a class of convicted sex offenders meet in federal court in St. Paul to debate the future of the MSOP, a program that Frank has called “draconian” and “clearly broken,” and has been widely decried for detaining too many offenders for too long. Only five offenders have been granted provisional discharge from the MSOP in its 20-year history; however, three of these offenders have been discharged just this year.

“This is more of the same,” said Dan Gustafson, lead attorney for a class of offenders suing the state, in reaction to the state’s court briefs. “This is more of, ‘We don’t have a problem, but if we had a problem, we wouldn’t have the money to fix it.’ This has been the reaction of the state political leadership of the past 15 years, and it continues to be even after a judge declared (MSOP) unconstitutional.”

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