What Should Minnesota Do With Its Sex Offender Program?

Sen. Ron Latz talked about some of the tough choices the state faces with its civil commitment program for sex offenders.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recently examined Minnesota's Sex Offender Program and the constitutionality of the civil commitment process.

The program civilly commits offenders who have completed their criminal sentences but are judged too dangerous to release. So far 700 people have been committed under the program.

Several offenders filed a lawsuit last year arguing the program has been unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that civil commitment is allowed for sex offenders—but the commitment program must provide treatment designed to help them return to normal life, according to the Start Tribune.

So far none of the people in Minnesota’s civil commitment have been fully discharged.

Senate Judiciary Comittee Chairman Ron Latz (DFL-District 46) sat down with Julie Bartkey of Capitol Report to discuss the tough choices legislators have ahead of them.

Latz—whose district covers all or parts of Golden Valley, Hopkins, Medicine Lake, Plymouth and St. Louis Park—contrasted the current population in the civil commitment program with people who haven’t yet been convicted.

“No matter what we do on the criminal sentencing side, if we do anything, it’s not going to affect the population that has already concluded their criminal sentence and has been committed into the state sex offender program,” Latz said. “So we have to make real decisions about the status of that sex offender program.”

Check out his interview in the video above and then share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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