Task force backs new treatment centers for sex offenders

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When state lawmakers convene in the new year, they'll have a new set of recommendations on how to improve the way Minnesota deals with sex offenders. A task force headed by former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson finished its report Monday. The Star Tribune reports it suggests a new set of treatment centers as an alternative to the expensive, high-security facilities used today.

The task force was put together on orders of a federal judge. Sex offenders who have served their prison time but are being held indefinitely by the state filed a lawsuit.

Here is how the state explains its existing Minnesota Sex Offender Program. The number of patients fully discharged by the program during its 19 years remains stuck at zero. Currently, 669 people are civilly committed by the state.

At a task force hearing earlier this fall, the discussion focused on doing more to rehabilitate offenders while they're still in prison and on using technology to monitor offenders after they're released into the community.

The lawsuit has been certified as a class action on behalf of all the civilly committed offenders. One who has been held for seven years recently told KSTP he hopes to "sue my way out the front door" of the Moose Lake facility.

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