Federal Judge Orders Risk Review of Minnesota Sex Offenders in Civil Program

A federal judge has ordered a risk assessment of all inmates in Minnesota’s sex offender program to determine which of them no longer pose a risk and could be released. 

Judge Donovan Frank announced the move Thursday, months after he declared the sex offender program unconstitutional. 

Independent reviews will be done on all 700-plus offenders in an effort to determine which can be released, or transferred to a lower-security facility. 

Judge Frank said he could order further changes later, but that if the state does not comply with his ruling he will halt further commitments and hold the state in contempt. 

It is unclear when evaluations will begin, but Frank hopes to have them completed by the end of 2017. 

Hours after the announcement, lawyers for the state filed an appeal with the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he hopes Judge Frank will stay his ruling pending the appeal. 

Dayton said he is concerned that fast-forwarding evaluations could be risky. He said he will do all he can to keep dangerous offenders in secure settings. 

Dayton said he is cognizant of constitutional rights of the mostly male offenders in the sex offender program but notes they committed “heinous acts” to wind up there. 

“I don’t want anybody walking the streets of Minnesota or going into a shopping center or anywhere else to be a victim of somebody where that prospective evaluation proved to be incorrect,” said Gov. Dayton. 

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