Gov. Dayton Orders Halt of Sex Offender Release Program - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Gov. Dayton Orders Halt of Sex Offender Release Program

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(KARE) ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Governor Mark Dayton has ordered his Commissioner of Human Services to halt any provisional release possibilities for all but three of the state's 698 people civilly committed violent sex offenders. This population has already served prison time for their crimes.

"The fact that the law hasn't been followed for the last 20 years administratively, this is a big shock to people," he told reporters with Commissioner Lucinda Jesson by his side. The state's position has been widely debated as three cases are up for review; three offenders who have requested provisional discharge from civil commitment.

"I think given the political outcry and concerns over the law, it is very appropriate that we ask the legislature once again to look at this law and take the steps that are necessary," Jesson said. A federal judge is pressuring the state for its practice of unlimited treatment terms for hundreds of people.

"It is our duty to protect our citizens the best we can," Republican Representative Brian Johnson of Cambridge told KARE 11. Johnson, a former Isanti County Sheriff Deputy, is also relieved that the Governor ordered the Department of Human Services to stop the transfer of more than six committed offenders to a Cambridge residential facility that sits in the center of his town.

"The community was outraged. They were very nervous, they were very scared," the Representative said. Offenders may still end up in the community. The Governor wants Human Services to look at the security of potential transfer facilities. He has also charged the legislature with coming up with a way to handle this population of past offenders, and they have to figure it out next session, Dayton said.

"We're all facing this problem together," the Governor concluded.

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