For the first time since its inception, the Minnesota Sex Offender Program will release its first patient. According to a report by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a three-judge panel in Ramsey County decided to grant a provisional discharge to a 64-year-old man, after there was no objection from prosecutors or the Department of Human Services.
The 64-year-old was convicted of the criminal sexual assault of a teenage boy in Hennepin County in the late 1980’s and he has been in the program since 1994. He had been living in a monitored residence at the Minnesota Security Hospital since 2009. After a formal discharge order is granted by the panel, he will move to a halfway house in Minneapolis.
Since he will be the first offender released from the program, the man will be closely monitored as he abides by a number of release conditions, including attendance at frequent Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, receiving counseling at a therapy program for male sex offenders, and wearing an electronic ankle-bracelet.
The Human Services Commissioner explained to the Star Tribune that while she initially opposed his release, the provisions set forth through the program were followed and a provisional discharge should be granted. She further explained that “While the law talks about assuring the public a ‘reasonable’ degree of protection, we will make sure the safeguards go far beyond…If he strays from the provisions we will pull him back immediately.”
Since it will be the first release under the program, it will ultimately be a test case for future offenders seeking a discharge, and may shape the way officials view the potential danger for patients to reoffend.
Source: Crookston Times, “Minn. sex offender program to discharge 1st person,” Feb. 2, 2012