December 5, 2012

Task force recommends change in Minnesota sex offender treatment

12-5-2012 MInnesota:

As Minnesota prepares to overhaul its system for treating sex offenders, at least one key lawmaker supports newly recommended reforms.

A task force this week suggested creating less restrictive treatment facilities across the state than the two high-security facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter, which are the only options.

But in doing so, policymakers would need to strike a balance between respecting the constitutional rights of sex offenders while keeping the public safe.

A court-ordered task force has recommended that the state develop new programs to treat sex offenders. Its work was set in motion by a federal class-action lawsuit brought by offenders who claim that they are being held in violation of their constitutional rights and that they have not received adequate treatment.

Under the task force’s recommendations, the Legislature could create group homes, outpatient centers and treatment programs throughout the state.

One legislator applauding the ideas is state Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato. When the Legislature convenes next year, she’ll serve as chairwoman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Housing Policy Committee. ...continued... by Laura Yuen

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