Gov. Mark Dayton is recommending more than $11 million in state dollars go toward reform of the state’s controversial sex offender program.
The recommendation, part of Dayton’s proposed $42 billion budget unveiled Tuesday, includes allocating $7.3 million in the 2016-17 biennium and $3.8 million in 2018-19 biennium to evaluate the treatment progress of the residents of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) and to move 50 of them to less-restrictive settings if they are approved. Nearly 700 residents are held indefinitely at treatment centers in Moose Lake and St. Peter.
According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which oversees MSOP, two people have been discharged from the program, one in 2012 and the other in 2014. Both are in supervised community placements. A third was provisionally discharged in 2000, but it was revoked because he did not comply with the program, although he did not reoffend, the department said.
The controversial program has long remained a hot potato for lawmakers and Gov. Dayton, who blame one another for failing to address problems with MSOP, whose policies were described by a federal judge as “draconian” and ordered the Legislature to take action or face court-ordered changes.
A federal trial is scheduled for Feb. 9 to determine the constitutionality of the program.