Minnesota Sex Offender Program Questioned, Criticized

Updated: 07/14/2014 7:00 PM
Created: 07/14/2014 5:37 PM
By: Ellen Galles

A federal judge spent Monday hearing testimony on how offenders are evaluated and treated. The case centers on two patients, but what the judge decides could potentially mean an overhaul for the entire system. That decision could open the door for nearly 700 patients who have been civilly committed in Minnesota.

One case involves the only committed female sex offender in Minnesota. Court-appointed experts testified they were shocked that she is the only female in a facility and treatment program designed for men, and that it's hindering her progress.

They are also focusing on a male offender in his 20s who was civilly committed as a juvenile. The court-appointed panel of experts said he needs to be unconditionally discharged from the state's sex offender program. They testified juvenile offenders are different from adult offenders and need different treatment, and that juveniles do not pose a high risk of re-offending.

Testimony will continue Tuesday. The state is expected to argue that both offenders are still dangerous and should not be released. 

After testimony wraps up the judge should rule within a week.

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