Dayton defends Minnesota Sex Offender Program, plans to meet with judge


Gov. Mark Dayton continues to defend the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, which a judge ruled unconstitutional last week.

At a news conference Wednesday, Dayton said he believes the MSOP is constitutional and the right thing to do, noting he prioritizes protecting Minnesotans over the individual rights of sex offenders, the Pioneer Press says.

He also said the program should be reformed by adding new facilities to treat lower-risk offenders instead of putting them all in the same facilities.

Dayton plans to attend a meeting called by Judge Donovan Frank and other political leaders that's tentatively scheduled for Aug. 10 to discuss the future of the program, reports note.

Dayton says he has a trip to Mexico scheduled then, but he would change his plans in order to meet with the judge, FOX 9 says.

The governor also said he wants the state to appeal the judge's decision, the Star Tribune reports, saying the "drastic changes" that would need to be made mean the decision deserves a court review.

Frank, in his ruling last week, didn't order the immediate release of anyone from the program.

The people in the program are not prisoners. They have completed their prison sentences and in most cases have been civilly committed to receive treatment at one of the two MSOP facilities in Moose Lake or St. Peter for an undetermined amount of time.

In the 20 years of the program, only three people have been released.

Before last week's ruling, Frank called the program “clearly broken” and urged Minnesota lawmakers to overhaul it, but that has yet to be done.

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