A federal judge in Minnesota has declared that Minnesota’s Sex Offender Program is unconstitutional for multiple reasons. U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank wrote a scathing opinion denouncing the draconian system in place in Minnesota, according to the Minneapolis Tribune stating:
“The overwhelming evidence at trial established that Minnesota’s civil commitment scheme is a punitive system that segregates and indefinitely detains a class of potentially dangerous individuals without the safeguards of the criminal justice system,” Frank wrote in his 76-page order.
The ruling came after a lengthy trial wherein the evidence overwhelmingly established the program’s outlandish deficiencies. Individuals are being held despite the completion of their criminal sentences with little if any opportunity for release. The judge also warned, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, that if state officials could not “fashion suitable remedies”, he may close the program altogether and release “offenders “with or without conditions”. The state’s governor, Mark Dayton (Dem.), who has frequently been criticized for defending law enforcement policies, without examination, said “We continue to believe that both the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, and the civil commitment statute are constitutional”. The evidence at trial showed that, in the program’s 20-year-existence, three offenders have been provisionally discharged, and none have been fully discharged. It is not clear how the legislature in Minnesota will proceed, but the court’s Order clearly calls for a plan of action.