Sex Crimes

Governor Explains Why the Minnesota Sex Offender Program Is a Crock

Defending the constitutionality of civil confinement, Mark Dayton exposes the fallacy at its core.


Office of the Governor

Last week U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank ruled that the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), which civilly confines people after they have completed their criminal sentences, violates the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton disagrees, but his defense of the program exposes the fallacy at its core. "It's really impossible to predict whether or not [sex offenders] are at risk to reoffend," Dayton says. "So the more protection you can give to the public, as far as I'm concerned, given their history, is entirely warranted, and that's what this program does right now."

The problem with Dayton's position is that the law authorizing the MSOP requires predictions about whether or not sex offenders "are at risk to reoffend"; if such predictions are "impossible," the whole law is a crock. Under the Minnesota Civil Commitment and Treatment Act, two kinds of offenders can be locked up, ostensibly for "treatment," after they have served their time: a "sexually dangerous person" or a "sexual psychopathic personality." The former is defined as someone who "has engaged in a course of harmful sexual conduct"; "has manifested a sexual, personality, or other mental disorder or dysfunction"; and "as a result, is likely to engage in acts of harmful sexual conduct." The latter is defined as someone who is deemed to exhibit "such conditions of emotional instability, or impulsiveness of behavior, or lack of customary standards of good judgment, or failure to appreciate the consequences of personal acts, or a combination of any of these conditions, which render the person irresponsible for personal conduct with respect to sexual matters, if the person has evidenced, by a habitual course of misconduct in sexual matters, an utter lack of power to control the person's sexual impulses and, as a result, is dangerous to other persons." Crucial to both of these definitions is a finding that the person, because of his purported disorder, is likely to commit new crimes after being released. But according to Minnesota's governor, who claims there is nothing wrong with the MSOP, such findings are basically bullshit.

It gets worse. "I don't think any parent in Minnesota wants to subject their daughter or their son to a probability," Dayton says. "They want to make sure their government is doing absolutely everything conceivably possible to make it 100 percent safe to walk in the park or to or from school." So even if recidivism were predictable, Dayton would say that  someone who is 99 percent guaranteed not to reoffend should nevertheless be locked up for the rest of his life. Just in case.

It is precisely this reluctance to release anyone, no matter how unlikely he is to commit new crimes, that persuaded Judge Frank the MSOP is a system of punishment and preventive detention disguised as psychiatric treatment. When no one is ever deemed well enough to be released, the pretense that the people confined by the MSOP are patients rather than prisoners is so obvious that even Dayton can't be bothered to carry on the charade.

[Thanks to Pope Jimbo for the tip.]

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  1. Hat tips are easy.

    I don’t know why you guys bitch so much about them. I have a basement full of them.

  2. “100 percent safe”

    Found the problem.

  3. Does this mean Pope Jimbo is getting released soon?

    1. That is why I started a religion and named myself Pope.

      Sure we end up getting sued by our victims and paying out a bunch of money, but at least we don’t go to the clink.

  4. Hey guys,
    I am new here, Followed the recent debacle. I wanted to say what an amazing group of folks you are!
    Witty, intelligent and downright amazing! (Except for Mike Sihn… I think that his name… He’s a douche) I am glad I have found you guys and am glad to be joining your community… Albeit behind 198757 proxy servers, just to make sure that I’m not having dinner with the DOJ.

    1. Do you even have a monocle, bro?

    2. Hihn is fine. Don’t let the others drag you into the troll-labeling trap. Just remember one thing: I am the greatest commenter of all times.

      1. Yes, you are! Followed by Warty and Sloopy and several others… You all have me laughing daily

        1. You seem to know an awful lot for a newcomer. [eyes suspiciously then goes back to checking for Caitlyn Jenner updates]

        2. You all have me laughing daily

          You are welcome.

      2. “Hihn is fine”

        I knew it was you. I KNEW IT. NO MORE SOCKS!

        1. Hihn is fine….for a dementia patient.

        2. In Hihn’s defense he is often grammatically correct, and as we have learned that is what really matters.

    3. Beware–the latest NSA system upgrade requires a minimum of 500,000 proxy servers, and an air gap. You’re doomed.

    4. And humble. That’s the best of our many good features.

  5. It is impossible to predict whether anyone will offend in the first place. So should we just lock everyone up to be safe?

    Moreover, what is so special about sex offenders? You could make the same argument about every other person convicted of a crime. It is impossible to know whether someone guilty of trying to murder someone won’t reoffend. It is impossible to know whether someone who steals identities will reoffend. So I guess no one should ever get out of prison.

    1. So should we just lock everyone up to be safe?

      I second John’s proposal. All in favor?

      1. We are going to have to put the entire population into Supermax. It is for the children.

        1. Escape from New York foresaw this eventual need.

        2. That’s pretty much how North Korea works, an entire country that is a prison camp, with even worse prison camps inside the general population.

          1. North Korea – it’s prison camps all the way down!

          2. Yeah, but they get 3 square meals a day of gruel courtesy of the dear leader. /nork propaganda

      2. It’s called the individual mandate. Roberts just clarified it for you.

  6. The background for this state freak out is this case:

    A released sex offender abducted and killed a cute, blond gal. Everyone freaked out about how this guy wasn’t locked up for life.

    At the time we had a GOP governor (Pawlenty) who vowed he’d never release another sex offender again. It was his administration that came up with the idea of “treating” these guys indefinitely.

    Dayton is merely following the lead of his predecessor. It isn’t really the public’s safety that he is concerned about so much as the worry that something bad will happen on his watch and hurt his administration.

    1. ps. for you non-Norwegians Sjodin is pronounces Show-deen

    2. Jesus Christ, looking at the Supreme Court decisions regarding sex offender registries is instructive:

      “In Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003), the Supreme Court upheld Alaska’s sex-offender registration statute. Reasoning that sex offender registration deals with civil laws, not punishment, the Court ruled 6-3 that it is not an unconstitutional ex post facto law. Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer dissented.”

      Got that? Getting placed on a registry the rest of your life, having to tell your neighbors you’re a sex offender and not being allowed to live within a certain distance of parks or schools (even if your crime had nothing to do with children) isn’t a punishment, it’s merely a ‘civil law.’

    3. Remember when Tim Pawlenty was going to be president? Good times.

      1. I must have missed that 17 second period of time.

  7. Mushmouth has it on good authority that a terrorist sex offender attack is imminent, so hw will be leaving the capital for the weekend, just to be safe.

  8. All laws that punish people because they “are likely to” harm others in the future are a crock. An especially fetid crock emitting a miasma of dead freedoms and rotting civil liberties.This governor should be arrests and confined because he is a political hack, a type likely to commit acts of fraud and malfeasance in the future.

    1. Even if those others are children? What kind of monster are you? I’m not voting for you.

      1. I am a monster. I am a libertarian.

      2. I’m the kind of monster who thinks that justifying the destruction of freedom liberty, and the ruke of law is evil, even when it’s done in the name of The Children. Perhaps especially then.

  9. Hey it’s like that “criminal menacing” law that allows your enforcer class to tackle and execute any lesser who stares them down. If you mammals weren’t so tasty, we would be inclined to keep you around for entertainment.

  10. “They want to make sure their government is doing absolutely everything conceivably possible to make it 100 percent safe to walk in the park or to or from school.”


    Nothing is ever 100 percent safe, you fucking nimrod! It’s this kind of mentality and the fucking helicopter parents that embrace it that are turning the next generation into a bunch of whiny little pussies.

  11. Sex offenders wouldn’t be a problem if we would probably train and arm all small children.

    1. If children are outlawed then only outlaws will have children!

      1. Isn’t that part of the debates on Abortion and Communist China?

  12. Piers Anthony wrote a book about this. “Death” is investigating the policy of Hell to release its prisoners to heaven after they have served their penance. He discovers that in all of eternity, no one has ever been released.

  13. “Sloth love Chunk!!”

    (what I hear in my head whenever I see a picture of Gov. Dimwit)

  14. Basically, this amounts to a domestic version of extraordinary rendition. The law is restricted to how much it can punish a crime. But if someone is “sick”, they can be treated for time indefinite, at the discretion of the therapist.

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