SEX OFFENDERS

More in Minnesota, or bad laws elsewhere?

Although I live in Elk River, I work in Minneapolis and have signed up to receive e-mail alerts when Level 3 sex offenders are about to be released into the community (“Minnesota seeks a gradual way to free offenders,” Oct. 27). I may be incorrect, but it seems as though there is a greater number of sex offenders being released than five years ago. Per the Minneapolis website, there are more than 1,300 registered Level 1, 2 and 3 sex offenders in Minneapolis. What really caught my attention in this article was a statement that I totally agree with — that “the problem is, no one knows definitively when a sex offender has been successfully treated.”

While I understand that it is not feasible to hold all sex offenders indefinitely, I strongly feel that we (as in Minnesota) should not be releasing more Level 3 offenders into the public. Does Minnesota truly have that many more sex offenders, or are other states’ laws too lenient? I would like to see these questions answered.

REBECCA GULSTAD, Elk River

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Every time there’s an article about the Minnesota Sex Offender program, someone conveniently forgets to emphasize the fact that there are thousands of sex offenders in Minnesota who roam free, who are not deemed a high enough risk to commit to the program. And, believe it or not, they don’t all live in north Minneapolis. And, again, the same rhetoric of they cannot be cured. Are they diseased, like a dog with rabies, that we need to throw around words like “cured”? Of course not. Like any other addiction, it is up to the individual to manage their risks and do what they need to so that they are safe — not for the community, but for themselves.

Whenever someone offends, it is the offender that is unsafe before anyone else is put in danger. Their behavior is their own responsibility to manage, and any treatment program helps the addict put together a support system and a plan to ensure that they are not at risk for any kind of addictive behavior — at first, usually mundane things, like isolating themselves, then gradually becoming more risky.

I was sexually assaulted as a child, and many of the people in my treatment group are offenders. All of the offenders I know take every interest in maintaining a healthy life free from addiction. So why is it that all offenders are labeled like those in the program and put on the front page?

JEFF WHITE, St. Paul

‘TYRANNY OF 1 PERCENT’

Consider poverty, and you’ll see it’s true

Thank you to Minnesota’s teacher of the year, Megan Olivia Hall, for speaking her mind and sharing what many teachers feel around the state. I am disheartened at the public’s negativity toward Hall’s speech at Education Minnesota’s professional conference (Readers Write, Oct. 25). She exclaimed: “From where I stand, teachers are the last line of defense against the tyranny of the 1 percent.” She spoke truth!

As an early childhood family education educator, I empathize with families who have no opportunity to pay for their children’s early education. Poor families have limited resources in building lifelong assets, something that America’s wealthiest, our 1 percent, takes for granted. The Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota (2011) has discovered that poverty perpetuates itself.

What can we do to stop this cycle? The U.S. Census Bureau found that Minnesota’s poverty rate was 11.9 percent in 2011. Let’s discuss our state’s most valuable resource — our people. The lack of ability for asset-building causes stressful challenges for families. In times of crisis, money is drawn out of daily budgets. The working poor are always one step away from economic misfortune.

It’s vital to take an in-depth look into poverty, because we’re only as rich as our poorest person! CDF of Minnesota states that child poverty has an impact on everyone, costing the Minnesota’s economy $5.7 billion a year. Poverty is everyone’s problem! Advocate for our poor; it will benefit us all.

ANDREA JENSEN, Plymouth

‘MASTERING ENGLISH’

Language skills aren’t defined by skin color

The Oct. 27 article “Mastering English”highlighted the big gap between the proficiency of “English language learners” and “white” students. Using color to characterize one of these groups is a false dichotomy — simplistic and racially charged. Not all “white” students are proficient in English (for instance, some Russians and European emigrants). Likewise, some students of color (such as many of those from India and parts of the Caribbean, for example) are fluent in English, speaking and understanding it well.

LUCILE CARMAN, Golden Valley

THIRD WARD

Gronquist deserved endorsement over Frey

Green Party-endorsed candidate Kristina Gronquist should have received the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsement for the Third Ward in Minneapolis. Her many years of community engagement and experience in our city far surpasses newcomer Jacob Frey. Kristina’s grass-roots approach and themes of transparency, accountability and citizen empowerment resonate strongly with voters. She’s spoken out on the need to address police misconduct and racial profiling, showing real courage and reflecting a long-held commitment to civil rights.

FORREST FRITZ-STORHAUG, Minneapolis