Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has made it virtually impossible for sexual psychopaths to be released into the community from a state treatment program unless ordered by a judge. “The governor doesn’t want these guys to get out, and he’s made that clear ever since he was running for office,” said chief of staff Charlie Weaver, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
The newspaper reported last month that officials in the Department of Human Services, which operates the treatment program, have looked for ways to release some offenders. Six of 190 in the program are in the final stage of treatment. An order issued by Pawlenty yesterday removes the discretion of the human services commissioner to decide the future of anyone judged a sexual psychopath or sexually dangerous and who, after serving a prison sentence, has been ordered into the treatment program.
Don Betzold, chairman of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, said the order will lead to lawsuits by offenders who have completed treatment goals and might be considered for reentering the community under close supervision. “His order will be politically fine with 99 percent of the public,” Betzold said. “But it won’t save him when a federal judge rules that he went too far and overturns the whole [treatment] system.”