Minnesota Senate passes $880 million public safety bill

Minnesota Senate passed its public safety bill Friday night.

Senate to vote on public safety spending plan

Senate to vote on public safety spending plan

DFL leaders call it a “historic” increase in funding for the state’s courts and public safety, an additional $880 million in new funding as part of the omnibus bill.

“In the area of preventing crime, we are making game-changing and historic investments in youth intervention and preventing recidivism,” said Sen. Ron Latz (DFL) St Louis Park. 

The DFL’s plan also focuses on violence prevention efforts, reducing forensic evidence backlogs, and law enforcement recruitment and retention.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans raised concerns with part of the legislation part of the Minnesota Rehabilitation and Reinvestment Act, calling it a “get out of jail free card” when it comes to possibly changing how long some inmates serve behind bars.

Earlier this session, Minnesota Department of Corrections officials told lawmakers there needs to be a shift in the focus on how inmates spend their time.

The proposals call for more rehabilitative opportunities for inmates to earn an earlier release from prison.

“Victims are denied justice when that happens,” said Republican Warren Limmer of Maple Grove. “Victims expect the system to protect them and to hold those who have done evil to them to be held responsible.”

On the floor, Senator Latz told the chamber that 38 other states have similarly earned release policies with incentives in place for inmates.

Currently, Minnesota inmates are required to spend 2/3 of their sentence behind bars, with the rest on probation.