Mike Meyer says that in 13 years locked inside Minnesota Sex Offender Program facilities, he’s gained insight into why he molested 36 children and young adults, and how to stop himself from doing it again, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune in the second in a series. Meyer completed required phases of treatment four years ago and has an 18-page Predischarge Plan listing his strategies for not reoffending. But he remains locked up.
Of similar programs in 19 states, only the 14-year-old Minnesota program and three others that are much newer have released no patients. While most states leave release decisions to the courts, Minnesota is one of only two states that until this year put that authority in the hands of a political appointee, the human services commissioner, and a paid review board he or she appoints. Their decisions could go to a court only on appeal. Because no one can guarantee an offender won’t rape or molest again, the safest course for political appointees has been to keep offenders locked up regardless of how their treatment has progressed. The result has been a ballooning population, with each resident costing taxpayers about $130,000 a year, three times what it costs to treat them in a conventional prison.