Monday morning saw the start of oral arguments in the federal trial that may determine the future of the troubled Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
The case pits the State of Minnesota against a class of convicted sex offenders who argue that the state exceeded its authority and violated their civil rights by keeping them locked away indefinitely in prisonlike treatment centers and by failing to provide adequate treatment and a clear path toward release.
Arguing for the state, Nathan Brennaman said the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) is constitutional and protects offenders’ rights, in part because it provides them with the right to petition for release through special review boards. He also argued that the facilities at Moose Lake and St Peter provide individualized treatment and are staffed with “caring professionals who are doing the best they can with this difficult population.”
“I do feel a lot of remorse for those crimes that I’ve committed,” said Bolte, one of the 14 named plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit against the state. “Not everybody here’s the monster that they think is here … I’m not the kid I was when I got locked up 13 years ago.”
But constitutional issues aside, the prospect of the release of large numbers of sex offenders is concerning to some Minnesotans. KSTP interviewed Lori Jenson of Le Center, a community that is host to one of only three people ever released from the program, Robert Jeno.
For some added context, it’s worth taking a look at the explainer MinnPost’s Briana Bierschbach wrote about the embattled program last summer.
In other news…
Here’s a problem you wouldn’t expect in Duluth: too many cabs. But that’s exactly the case, reports the Duluth News Tribune. The city lifted its hard cap on taxi licenses in 2002, and in recent years the number of cabs has exploded. Where once there were 35, there are now around 150, making cabs more prevalent in Duluth than in, yes, New York City.
Both the Strib and the AP covered the case of a kitten stolen from and later returned (with apology) to a Minneapolis pet store, but the Strib gets the headline award for “Catnapper strikes Mpls. pet store, but returns kitten with note of apology.” “Catnapper.” You guys.
- Sports Illustrated: Meet the only high school pitcher to strike out Joe Mauer [Via @StuffAboutMpls]
- Pioneer Press: Breaking Free to close sex-victim housing months after opening
- Duluth News Tribune: Body of Mille Lacs spiritual leader released to family
- Vox asks: Do you know how many megachurches are in your state? Spoiler: Minnesota has 29 per 100,000 people, a relatively high amount.
- NewsCut: Super Bowl provided no boost to host city’s image
Stories you might have missed this weekend
- MinnPost contributor Pat Borzi in the New York Times on a subject near and dear to Minnesotan hearts: pond hockey.
- Erin Golden in the Strib: Minneapolis City Council rookie Frey stands out as cheerleader