Issue: the methods and practices used to indefinitely lock up certain sex offenders
In a decision issued in February 2014, the Minnesota District Court issued a positive decision allowing the bulk of the case to move forward.
The ACLU-MN filed a brief in this case that challenges the detention of individuals housed in the Minnesota Sex Offender treatment program. In Minnesota there are nearly 700 people imprisoned under the Minnesota Sexual Offenders program, at a prison-like treatment facility because they have been deemed "sexual psychopathic" or "sexually dangerous". Individuals are sent to the MSOP program because after a sex offender completes his or her prison sentence, the state can ask for a hearing to decide whether this "civil commitment" is necessary because the offender is still dangerous.
The ACLU-MN believes that implementation of the MSOP violates the Constitution. The power of the government to deprive a person of liberty in order to punish that person for committing a crime is strictly controlled by the Constitution.
The ACLU does not believe that all the individuals who are imprisoned through this program should be immediately released. Instead, reforms should be made to the program that will protect their constitutional rights while at the same time reducing costs to the state and keeping everyone safe. This would ensure the program is actually a civil commitment program, not a criminal punishment. There are at least three ways this can be done: