A Minnesota group will study the laws that govern people convicted of a sex offense this year and provide a report to the Legislature in January.
The state budget includes $25,000 for the creation of a Predatory Offense Statutory Framework Working Group by Sept. 1.
It will examine the state’s predatory offense registration laws including “the requirements placed on people convicted of an offense, the crimes for which POR is required, the method by which POR requirements are applied to people convicted of an offense and the effectiveness of the POR system in achieving its stated purpose,” according to the omnibus public safety law.
Two years ago the state launched a similar working group that recommended a number of changes to the state’s criminal sexual conduct laws. Many of those reforms were made into law in the two-year budget finalized June 30.
Minnesota’s first sex offense registration law took effect in 1991. It created the Sex Offense Registration Unit at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, according to the BCA website.
In 2000 the unit was changed to Predatory Offense Registration, and now it includes investigative support staff and special agents who monitor and track registered people, according to the BCA. “The unit processes approximately 30,000 updates each year.”
People can be classified as predatory for convictions that include criminal sexual conduct, murder, felony-level indecent exposure, soliciting a minor to engage in sexual conduct, possession of child pornography, kidnapping and false imprisonment in Minnesota.
“The way our system works is once you’re flagged for something, you’re flagged forever,” said Lauren Rimestad, director of development and communications for the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
People in the victim-survivor community are starting to see that those who use violence and power and perpetrate these crimes have traits that make them vulnerable to victimization too, she said.
“What we are understanding is the more we look at people as one whole person, we kind of see the impact that flagging someone for the rest of their life could have, especially on their family members and how they are able to contribute to society,” Rimestad said.
The new working group must reflect diverse and marginalized voices, including the perspectives of victims and survivors, according to the language in the budget.
Members of the group will include:
- Experts on juvenile justice,
- Representatives from city and county prosecuting agencies,
- Members of statewide crime victim coalitions,
- Representatives from the state judicial branch,
- Representatives from the Minnesota Board of Public Defense,
- Private criminal defense attorneys,
- Staff from the Departments of Public Safety and Human Services and the Sentencing Guidelines Commission along with
- Representatives from state and local law enforcement agencies.
The group must submit a report to lawmakers with findings and recommendations by January 15, 2022.
Editor’s note: This story is one in a series featuring parts of the new, two-year state budget that affect Central Minnesotans. By: Nora G. Hertel. Nora Hertel is the government watchdog reporter for the St. Cloud Times. Reach her at 320-255-8746 or email@example.com.