The Minnesota House overwhelmingly approved a massive anti-crime bill yesterday designed to crack down on sex offenders and methamphetamine makers, reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The measure shifts the state’s criminal justice philosophy from rehabilitating criminals to sending them to prison and locking the door, said its chief sponsor, Rep. Steve Smith, R-Mound. It passed 117-13. “The No. 1 priority of this bill is locking up violent sexual predators for life without the possibility of release,” Smith said. “We’re talking about people who have made a history of kidnapping adult females and who use them … (for) rape, sexual penetration and then want to throw them away. … We’re talking about people who have a history of sexual contact with and penetration and beatings and torture of children or the disabled and of children as young as 1 year old and even infants.”
The bill would require life sentences for violent rapists and lengthen sentences for other sex offenders.
“I am going to vote for this bill, but I have to say it is with a great deal of reluctance,” said Rep. Bill Hilty, DFL-Finlayson. He said the measure passes crime-control costs to counties, creates a false sense of security because it doesn’t deal with sex offenders now in prison or already out on the streets, and doesn’t fund programs for at-risk kids or other measures that could prevent future crime.