Sex Offender “graduates” from controversial rehabilitation program

“Do the crime, do the time” is a staple of American criminal justice. So, the concept of confining people beyond the length of their sentence is unsettling. In Minnesota, “civil confinement” is mandated where someone is considered a public danger and unable to act within the constraints of the law. It was used to keep people inside psychiatric hospitals in the first half of the 20th century and it is used today to keep sex offenders behind bars.

For a “civil confinement” program to be constitutional, it must focus on treating the sex offender to eventually reintegrate them into society, rather than on punishment. It is a fine line. Far too often the offender can’t be “cured” of his compulsions and remains confined indefinitely.

Turning to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (or “MSOP”), most people never graduate that is until Mr. Oliver D. He was convicted of raping two women in 1995 and spent 14 years behind bars. In 2009 his sentence was up and he was transferred to the MSOP for treatment. The MSOP was established in 1995 as a way to treat sex offenders of their compulsions, to reintegrate them into society.

The program’s requirements are so strict that very few ever graduate. The inmates are constantly monitored and in a very structured environment, making it easy to fail. But Mr. Oliver D. steadily advanced through the program and never relapsed. He is only the fourth person to graduate and he did it in only a few years. To compare there are more than 700 people committed in the MSOP, some of which have been there for over 20 years.

The program is being challenged by numerous inmates as being unconstitutional. The Minnesota government counters that the Constitution does not require a treatment strategy that guarantees eventual release. The inmates were successful in the District Court and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal will hear arguments later this year.

Mr. Oliver D. will not have an easy time on the outside as he is under intense supervision, has strict reporting requirements and is still on the Sex Offender Registry. If he fails to comply with any of these requirements he could be immediately sent back into the MSOP for additional “treatment.”

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.