Skip to main content

More money needed to reform Minnesota sex offender program, trial hears

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Minnesota's controversial sex offender program is being reformed, the state human's services chief says, but a lack of funding is restricting broader changes being made.

A landmark federal lawsuit to determine whether the program is unconstitutional got underway this week, in a case brought by more than 700 inmates of the state's two sex offender facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter.

State human services commissioner Lucinda Jesson took the stand Friday, the Star Tribune reports, and said that her tenure in charge has resulted in changes that have improved outcomes for sex offenders, but that she will need help from the legislature to effect further change.

According to the Pioneer Press, Jesson said her department would need more money to fund the bigger changes required, such as more open facilities for certain patients.

Under the program, offenders are civilly committed to receive treatment at one of the two facilities after serving their prison sentences, but the vast majority of them have been kept in the program indefinitely, with only three being released from it in the last 20 years.

Attorney Dan Gustafson, for the plaintiffs, said Minnesota is not following the constitution by confining people indefinitely in "prison-like" treatment centers, the Pioneer Press notes.

Jesson was "grilled" by Gustafson on the stand, according to MPR, who accused her of taking too long to act upon recommendations for changes to the program made by a state task force.

In response, she admitted: "It took too long."

The trial is expected to take over a month and could determine the future of the program.

Next Up

Christopher Keyes

Prolific speeder charged in crash that killed woman, 75, in Plymouth

The man has seven speeding tickets dating back to 2019.

minneapolis police

Hunt for suspect who broke into apartment, fatally stabbed man

The homicide is the 57th to happen this year in the city.

minnesota state fair

How to save money at the Minnesota State Fair this year

The fair released its money-saving tips Thursday, including on parking, admission and entertainment.

Motel 6 Rochester

Threat of 'potential overdoses' among youths prompts Motel 6 raid

Rochester police says fentanyl pills were among the items seized.

boyd huppert

Boyd Huppert, Twin Cities TV stations among Murrow Award winners

The KARE 11 personality known for his 'Land of 10,000 Stories' feature was among the national winners.

Bar beer

Study: Excessive drinking cost Minnesotans almost $8 billion in 2019

The study was published by the Minnesota Department of Health Thursday.


Price of Disney+ is going up, unless you want ads

The ad-free version of Disney+ will increase from $7.99 per month to $10.99 per month, effective Dec. 8.


Mall of America shooting suspects arrested in Chicago

The two suspects were spotted leaving a barber shop.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

Walz: Increased state law enforcement presence to stay in Twin Cities

A multi-agency effort to curb crime will go on until further notice.