Proposed move of sex offenders to Cambridge draws heat; hearing Tuesday

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A proposal to move half-a-dozen sex offenders from the state treatment program to a facility in Cambridge is being criticized by some of the neighbors in that city.

As MPR reports, Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson plans a public hearing in Cambridge Tuesday to allow residents to hear more about the plan.

Earlier this month Jesson announced the proposal to move the six men, who are described as low functioning, to a less restrictive setting in Cambridge. The state sex offender program has facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter that have been likened to prisons. The offenders have been civilly committed to the program indefinitely. Most have already served prison terms.

The offender program is the subject of a class action lawsuit. More than 600 offenders have been ordered into the program in its 19-year history and only one has been successfully released.

The Isanti County News reports the program's executive director, Nancy Johnston, told local officials recently that the six men earmarked for a move to Cambridge range in age from their 40's to the 80's and have followed all the rules of the program.

State Rep. Brian Johnson, a Republican from Cambridge, has criticized the proposed move of the offenders. In a letter published in the Isanti County News, which is based in Cambridge, Johnson writes that he lives within two miles of the facility. He says local families deserve more information before a decision is made.

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