Promoting safe sex offenders

A plan to reintegrate the state’s worst sex offenders requires caution.

Daily Editorial Board

Important as reducing the state deficit may be, public safety needs to come first. A plan to modify the Minnesota Sex Offender Program appears to combine these two public interests.
However, to ensure the legitimacy of the program, improving the system for sex offenders who have served their sentences needs to take precedence over cutting costs.
Currently, there are 605 convicted sex offenders who have served their prison sentence but are still held in the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. This spring several committed sex offenders could be transferred from state-run facilities to a nonprofit reintegration service and from there possibly back into society.
It will cost the state an estimated $120 per person per day at Community Renewal Services compared to the more than $300 per day to house an inmate at a state-run facility.
The need to look for savings is important, as MinnesotaâÄôs Sex Offender Program has tripled in size in the past eight years and is expected to run out of space entirely by 2013.
However, releasing the prisoners in question âÄî who have committed an average of 16 crimes each and have been held indefinitely due to mental disorders and an inability to prove their worthiness for release âÄî should be done with the utmost caution.
Cutting corners at any point in the process in order to save money is not worth the large risk to society that releasing sex offenders who are not ready to be reintegrated into society poses.
All parties involved need to proceed with caution and ensure that the wellbeing of Minnesotans is put before any other priorities.