Debate resumes over fate of sex offender program

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, September 30, 2015

ST. PAUL — Lawyers arguing over the structure of Minnesota’s sex offender confinement program are back in federal court as a judge determines what has to change and how soon.

The Minnesota Sex Offender Program was found unconstitutional in June, but Judge Donovan Frank hasn’t ruled what will become of it. He was holding a hearing Wednesday amid reluctance from state officials to suggest alternatives to the indefinite civil confinement of offenders deemed a risk to commit new crimes.

State lawyers maintain Frank’s ruling was wrong and are waiting for the chance to appeal. But attorneys for the more than 700 locked-up sex offenders have asked for substantial changes, including frequent offender evaluations and the use of less-restrictive settings for those advancing toward release.

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