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February 10, 2010

Minnesota Governor Pawlenty urges doubling of sentences for sex offenders

As detailed in this local article, which is headlined "Pawlenty: Time to get tougher on sex crimes," Minnesota's governor (and a future presidential candidate?) is talking about significantly increasing his states punishment table for sex offenders. Here are the basics:

Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposed tough new penalties for sex offenders Tuesday, saying sentences for those who commit serious crimes against children should be more than doubled. Under the proposal, those convicted of first-degree sex offenses would see their presumptive sentence go from 12 years to 25 years. Those with criminal histories likely would see tougher penalties.

"Sex offenders in our state and across the country continue to present a very serious challenge to the safety of our fellow citizens and to our communities and to our families," Pawlenty said. "They need to be kept off the street for as long as possible, and Minnesota's current law in that regard can be even further improved."

It is the governor's second effort at bolstering penalties for sex crimes. In 2005, the state passed a package of get-tough sentencing reforms, which included the first sentences of life without the possibility of parole for the most serious sex offenders.

But in announcing Tuesday's proposal, Pawlenty expressed unhappiness with the way some of those reforms have been implemented by courts. From 2006 to 2008, the latest year for which numbers are available, only seven people received the life without parole sentence. "It's been a helpful tool but not used as much as we would like," he said.

The sentencing proposal comes as the Legislature debates a $90 million expansion of the state's sex offender civil commitment program in Moose Lake. Since its creation two decades ago, 551 men and one woman have been sent to the program after their criminal sentences ended, and the number has been steadily increasing since college student Dru Sjodin's 2003 murder. Minnesota has the highest per capita number of civil commitments in the nation....

In 2008, courts issued 582 sentences for sex crimes, including 144 for first-degree crimes. That year, the Minnesota Department of Corrections recommended to county attorneys that 151 sex offenders scheduled for release be civilly committed. From 2008 to 2009, however, judges ordered only 38 offenders into the civil program, which includes extensive therapy and regular polygraph testing.

According to a one-day snapshot from July 2009, there were 9,353 inmates in the Minnesota prison system, 1,646 of whom were serving time for sex crimes. Nearly half of those were first-degree offenders with crimes involving children. Sex crimes make up the second-largest category of prison sentences in Minnesota, behind only drug crimes.

In 2008, the average prison sentence for first-degree offenders was actually more than 16.5 years, compared with a little more than 12 years a decade earlier, according to the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. Offenders' criminal histories typically add length to sentences.

February 10, 2010 at 06:54 AM | Permalink


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In other news, Governor Pawlenty is running for President in 2012.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Feb 10, 2010 9:03:30 AM

Maybe he should just go all the way and try for life with(out) parole.

Posted by: . | Feb 10, 2010 9:49:14 AM

Might as well eliminate the trial altogether for those accused of sex crimes against children. The accusation itself should be sufficient; as a matter of practice, that's already the case.

Posted by: anon 12 | Feb 10, 2010 11:07:42 AM

I join with anon 12. In addition, for this class of criminals, I propose reinstating crucifixion as the mode of punishment. The Romans knew how to make a point. Make these perverted bastards suffer.

Posted by: anon 13 | Feb 10, 2010 11:11:19 AM

bull crap! i think someone should double the amount of LEAD in his head! god know's he's not using it.

as for this lie!

""Sex offenders in our state and across the country continue to present a very serious challenge to the safety of our fellow citizens and to our communities and to our families," Pawlenty said."

someone need to file criminal and civil charges against him for fraud and faslafication of govt documents.

Posted by: rodsmith3510 | Feb 10, 2010 4:05:47 PM

as for anon 12 and anon 13 take your empty brains and find a short pier and take a LONG WALK we don't need you in the gene pool.

1,000's of studies from our govt and AROUND THE WORLD show you have no clue what your talking about.

Posted by: rodsmith3510 | Feb 10, 2010 4:07:23 PM

Rod, buddy, there's a thing called "sarcasm" you need to look into.

Posted by: wile_e | Feb 10, 2010 4:27:12 PM

When a political candidate, opportunist, seeks to make hay over issues like crime, race, literacy tests, then the discerning voter should repudiate him/her and treat them like the dirt which they are. There is some aspect of this guy's name which resonates in dirt-- Paw-lenty. When my cat comes in the door I always admonish him to wipe the lenty off his paws. Over the years demogods (not gouges) have used base isntinct issues to get ahead in life. On issues of "punishment" they need to be punished at the polls. If there is no decent candidate on the ballot then the discerning voter should write in: "scumbag" or "none of the above smug jerks".

Posted by: mpb | Feb 11, 2010 7:48:44 AM

One other comment. I think it prudent to be ware of any politician who refers to a statute as a "tool".

Posted by: mpb | Feb 11, 2010 7:51:08 AM

sorry will but the decade of criminal illegal stupidity of our govt involving sex crime laws is a sore subject with me. From where i sit idiots like this are legally traitors to their oath of office and since according to the govt we are at WAR liable for execution.

Posted by: rodsmith3510 | Feb 11, 2010 8:54:12 PM

Real Nice. I'm so glad to be an American... mmmmm, not really. So these sex offenders are supposed to reintegrate into society correct? If so, how can these people do that if they are ostracized and analyzed to the point where they don't even exist? I'm sure that there are some of these people that would like to live a normal. Then again talking about this stuff solves nothing and does nothing.

Posted by: IrapedMyGirlfriend | Feb 14, 2010 10:51:09 AM

Oh yeah, wheres the registry for the murderers? Yeah, the guy that chopped up some dude or gal into little pieces and tried to get away with it is definitely less serious than the rapist. MMMhmmmmmmmmmmmm, I'm thinkin about it...

Posted by: IrapedMyGirlfriend | Feb 14, 2010 10:56:16 AM

Sex criminals should be punished badly.Sex crimes are going on increasing day by day.Government should take care of sex crimes very seriously for better environment.

Posted by: arnostginsberg | Oct 15, 2010 8:49:23 AM

Very good post. Made me realize I was totally wrong about this issue. I figure that one learns something new everyday. Mrs Right learned her lesson! Nice, informative website by the way.

Posted by: supra shoes | Nov 11, 2010 1:51:29 AM

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