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January 20, 2012

High costs of sex offender civil confinement driving reform talk in Minnesota

This local article, headlined "Cost drives new plan on treating sex offenders," confirms my sense that states may often find it difficult to pay for broad use of civil confinement for sex offenders. Here is how the piece starts:

Citing the high cost of indefinite civil commitment for Minnesota sex offenders, two influential lawmakers will propose a shift to longer prison terms, coupled with intensive -- but cheaper -- treatment.

In addition, the legislators plan to propose a state mental health review court, a move aimed to standardize the civil commitment process for sex offenders and reduce political pressures on local prosecutors and judges, which can be intense in rural communities.

Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said Thursday that he and Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, are in the final stages of drafting the legislation. He said a team of legislators has spent the past four months reviewing the public safety and civil liberties issues surrounding the more than 600 patients being held indefinitely in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) at Moose Lake and St. Peter.

"The cost is just tremendous, more than $330 a day, as opposed to keeping these offenders in a corrections setting for about $70 a day," Limmer said. "We intend to stay focused on safety, on cost and on the constitutional issues, [but] holding these individuals longer in prison makes sense rather than paying the high cost of civil commitment."

Limmer and Cornish, chairman of the public safety committees in the Senate and House, respectively, attended a packed forum at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson and Eric Janus, dean and president at William Mitchell, hosted the symposium.

Last spring, Legislative Auditor James Nobles found that the cost of treating Minnesota's sex offenders could be drastically reduced by creating alternative, highly supervised programs similar to those adopted in New York, Texas and Wisconsin. Minnesota is one of 20 states with civil commitment programs, and in 2010 had the nation's highest number of committed sex offenders per capita. "Without releases, Minnesota is susceptible to lawsuits challenging the adequacy of the treatment program," Nobles found.

January 20, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Permalink


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Thanks for the post, Doug. One thing to keep in mind is that this civil commitment program is in its 21st year. Cost has risen to the top of the legislative agenda in one or two prior years, only to be driven down by white-hot political posturing. Things might be changing, for a variety of reasons. Or, they might not.
Eric Janus

Posted by: Eric Janus | Jan 20, 2012 2:17:45 PM

Minnesota might be interested in the Sex Offender Island concept to reduce costs. Since their icky pervs already live in Minnesota which is unihabitable in winter according to most measures, Minnesota could no doubt find a cheaply available island in the frozen north where their sex offenders would feel right at home. That would be much cheaper than civil commitment because the island would allow there to be no children around and thus sex offenders would not have to have as many restrictions. If interested in such an island concept, Minnesota is encouraged to contact Erika's Icky Perv Solutions for a complete proposal.

Minnesota may also want to look into the cheap alternative solution to high cost civil commitment - namely castration. Under my proposal for Erika's Law, sex offenders would be given a choice to move to sex offender island or be castrated - that would be much cheaper than attempting to pretend to provide treatment. And as for claims that sex offenders have some sort of rights - like whatever! As if a court is actually going to protect the rights of icky pervs to not have their sexual organs chopped off if they do not move to a for profit island treatment resort :)

Erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Jan 20, 2012 2:34:23 PM

Back in the good ol' days, when the colonies cost too much, sterilization was the solution, except it was moral imbeciles (promiscuous women) that were most often targeted by the predators, uh, I mean the government.

Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell [Kindle Edition]

From Booklist
A 1927 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Buck v. Bell, approved laws allowing states to sterilize the “feebleminded” to keep them from having children. The case involved Carrie Buck, whose mother and daughter—like Carrie—had been adjudged “feebleminded.” At a time of growing debate about the practice of eugenics, feebleminded was a label freely and frequently given to prostitutes, illegitimate children, and epileptics, as well as the mentally deficient. For a period, Carrie and her mother were both residents of the Colony, a facility that practiced the segregation and sterilization policies prevalent at the time. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., in writing the decision, declared that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” The decision set in motion more than 60,000 sterilizations. Law professor Lombardo draws on 25 years of research, including interviews with Buck before she died, her medical and school records, correspondence with her attorneys, and other documents to support the claim that the case was a fraud against a poor girl who had been raped. An engrossing look at a shameful case. --Vanessa Bush

Posted by: Just to piss off Bill | Jan 20, 2012 2:36:48 PM

the new law is all very good for NEW criminals but is COMPLETLY ILLEGAL for anyone now convicted ESPECIALY those now in a so-called "CIVIL COMITMENT" facility!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 20, 2012 2:37:37 PM

Just to piss off Bill --

Far from being pissed off, I fully agree that -- as I have said before -- mutilation is not acceptable as a policy for punishment in this country, even if it were consistent with the Eighth Amendment, which I doubt.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 20, 2012 2:58:19 PM


Given that the 5th amendment (which was adopted contemporaneously with the 8th) specifically contemplates someone being in jeopardy of 'limb' I see no constitutional problems with mutilation as a criminal punishment.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jan 20, 2012 5:06:15 PM

This is a general statement, but it fits the majority of RSO's

Most RSO's don't need civil commitment. You will all soon see that what the politicians have done to the RSO's will also be done to other American Citizens. Nazi Germany is not far removed from the United States. Let these people have their right to join the rest of us, once they finish their sentence. If they are the type who need to be committed, DO IT BY LAW (Constitutional Law).

Erika :), Soronel Haetier, and anyone who believe the way these two do;

Here is a web page you might be interested in to answer those nagging questions about your thought patterns: http://www.ehow.com/how_2337343_identify-sociopathic-behavior.html

Posted by: Book38 | Jan 20, 2012 7:52:27 PM

how true book38 1,000's of studies from the united states and AROUND the world show the same numbers over and over and over

80-95% of ALL NEW SEX CRIMES are FIRST TIME OFFENDERS...no registry in the world would have STOPPED!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 20, 2012 8:18:14 PM

Maybe some of you idiots who post on here should consider that teenage boys and girls are being prosecuted under megans law... would you like your 17 yo son or 15 yo daughter, put on an island or made to register for a lifetime? Megans law is flawed because it punishes persons after the fact and after a legal remedy has already been imposed... would you castrate or put someone on an island for downloading porn?? There are children as young as 7 on the registry.. should we castrate them too?

Posted by: Chuck291 | Jan 21, 2012 8:06:44 AM

Great Idea.

It's great, provided that females, regardless of age, who make false allegations of an element of a sexual offense; be offered a cliterectomy (with sufficient local anesthesia, of course), followed by a full frontal lobotomy

JAG, Kindly, Evermore!

Under my proposal for Erika's Law, sex offenders would be given a choice to move to sex offender island or be castrated - that would be much cheaper than attempting to pretend to provide treatment. And as for claims that sex offenders have some sort of rights - like whatever! As if a court is actually going to protect the rights of icky pervs to not have their sexual organs chopped off if they do not move to a for profit island treatment resort :)

Erika :)

Posted by: JAG | Jan 21, 2012 9:24:09 AM

Psychiatrist argues against interest hebephilia is a crime, not a disorder. It should not be used in civil commitment of sex offenders. Site requires free registration. No evidence stands up that it is an independent disorder.


Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 22, 2012 12:44:09 AM

One also notes his pointing out that puberty has been the landmark of adulthood and the start of reproduction across cultures and across the ages. One has to add the age of 18 of majority to the long list of lawyer fictions and garbage policies.

Isn't time to get rid of the lawyer from all policy positions?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 22, 2012 1:47:27 AM

works for me SC of course that means we are gonna have a 4-5 point jump in unemployment since 90% of the politicans in the county are goona be OUT OF WORK!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 22, 2012 3:44:49 PM

Whatever the reason, it's past time for these laws to become more sane.

MOST who are on the registry are NOT Dangerous. Their lives sure are being ruined, ALONG with their family and their CHILDREN'S lives ...job loss, family loss, having to move, becoming homeless, having to look over their shoulders for some nut- case vigilantes, some who have gotten the wrong people. Who cares that the big majority are Romeo-Juliets (19 yr. old boyfriend and 15 yr. old girlfriend), urinated in public while intoxicated, mooned somebody for fun after a game, visited an adolescent prostitute who lied about her age....he may be a pathetic scumbag, but dangerous?? Or he could be one of the burgeoning numbers who downloaded "child" porn, MOST of which is adolescent girls/guys and do most men check to ask the age on there??? Mothers, fathers, warn your sons! That's one of the largest growing groups on the registry. This insanity is being used to trap men that would never harm a fly? It is getting more and more unreal. What has happened to our justice system?

If you are someone who does care about justice, educate yourself and help us in this David-Goliath fight Catching and persecuting people who don't deserve it doesn't help protect our children from those who do. http://www.csom.org/pubs/mythsfacts.html

Posted by: patricia win | Jan 22, 2012 4:26:22 PM

i agree patricia.

the usdoj's own numbers every yeear say the same thing 80-95% of all sex crime are FIRST TIME OFFENDERS.


unless of course we just bite the bullet and register EVERYONE and then make EVERYONE stay away from children!

raise em till they are 18 and legal in computer run and controled craches!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 23, 2012 2:29:59 AM

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