Not all sex offenders in Minnesota go to prison. In some cases, a court may decide that such a criminal should be held in a treatment center. Minnesota houses nearly 700 sex offenders in treatment facilities at St. Peter and Moose Lake, and $73 million is spent every year to lock these offenders up. In the last 20 years, however, only one person has ever been released from one of these centers. On Nov. 8, a panel of judges scheduled a hearing to determine whether there should be a second.
The hearing, scheduled for Feb. 2014, will determine whether or not a 58-year-old man convicted on several counts of rape should be released from treatment. The man is believed to have committed almost 200 violent assaults. Federal courts have stated that when a criminal is in a treatment program, it is expected that they will be released at some point. A Hennepin County attorney that’s responsible for getting many sex offenders convicted supports the conditional release of the rapist, stating that the man’s current condition must be taken into account.
There is much opposition to the man’s release, however, as both a current gubernatorial candidate and the Minnesota Attorney General have stated that the man would be a threat to the public. The candidate has specifically called on Governor Mark Dayton to take action. However, the governor supports the release hearing and technically does not have the authority to adjust the man’s sentence himself.
The release of sex offenders back into the public is perhaps one of the most controversial issues in criminal corrections. It can be unnerving to think of a convicted rapist being set free, even if the release is conditional. It must be remembered though that this man has undergone round-the-clock treatment for nearly 12 years. The laws that are currently in place may legally allow this man to be released if the court determines that he has been effectively treated.
Source: minnesota.cbslocal.com, “Convicted Violent Rapist Could Be Released From Treatment” Pat Kessler, Nov. 08, 2013