MN Sex Offender Treatment Risks Federal Court Takeover Unless Fixes Are Made


Minnesota's sex offender treatment program risks a federal court takeover that could be messy, expensive, and lengthy unless the state takes steps to address legal and constitutional challenges, the chairman of a task force created by a federal judge to draft reforms tells the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and James Rosenbaum, a retired federal judge who is vice chair, have been meeting with legislators for the past two weeks to outline the work of the task force and underscore the urgency of the federal court's call for action. The task force is searching for ways to protect public safety while finding less-restrictive options for offenders. The Minnesota Sex Offender Program, created in 1994 to house and treat dangerous individuals after their prison terms end, has grown to a population of 682 offenders and faces a court challenge claiming it amounts to an unconstitutional life sentence. “I've heard it said we don't need to do anything legislatively because the federal judge will fix the problems,” Magnuson said. “That couldn't be further from the truth. The federal court — any court, really — acts as a broad sword and not a scalpel.”

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