MSOP Claims There is Nowhere for Us to Go

The below is OCEAN Newsletter Volume 1, Issue 5, Article 6 (Nov. 13, 2019) published by Russell J. Hatton & Daniel A. Wilson from the gulag in Moose Lake Minnesota.

 

MSOP has always used the excuse, in addition to many others, that there is too many housing restrictions in too many counties, to let their patients go.

Not true, OCEAN editor Daniel was on the streets before he became a detainee to MSOP. He had no problems with finding housing and was never limited by county ordinances or even harassed by neighbors. Also, State Operated Services (SOS) owns many properties. Even though DHS claims we are no longer under SOS, we were from 1994 to 2 008, and these facilities were never used for reintegrating offenders into the community. MSOP has often rejected release solely based on the fact that a patient has nowhere to go, and not necessarily because their mental illness/disorder is in remission. But even if we don’t have anywhere to go, that should be none of MSOP’s business. They have a responsibility to “treat and release” and that’s it.

New case law may now leave them without an excuse. Ford v. Schnell ‘ says that a sex offender who has served his time in prison cannot be held solely based on him not having an address to go to. Patients at MSOP hope it will also apply to us.

In the report “Residency Restrictions for Sexual offenders in Minnesota: False Perceptions for Community Safety” written by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Richard Weinberger, M.S.E., L.P. ² discussed the following:

Residency or zone restrictions for individuals with sexual offences have become increasingly popular in recent years, but such restrictions tend to be rooted in fear and anger, rather than informed public policy.

There is no research to support residence restrictions as effective in reducing sexual recidivism.” The Minnesota Department of Corrections concluded in one study that, “during the past 16 years, not one sex offender released from a MCF (Minnesota Correctional Facility) has been reincarcerated for a sex offense in which he made contact with a juvenile victim near a school, park, or daycare center close to his home.” Because people typically choose to live close to family, friends, or employment, and establishing social stability for offenders reduces recidivism, residency restrictions may be counterproductive.” Research on residency restrictions demonstrate no deterrence effect.

From the 1990’s through the present, individuals who have committed sex crimes have been the subject of countless psychological, sociological, criminal justice and governmental agency studies.

Consequently, there is large body of research on these individuals that demonstrates that a number of commonly held beliefs (myths) regarding recidivism are not true. The fact is, current research indicates that:

Sex offenders, as a group reoffend much less than other criminal offenders.

95% of sex offenses are committed by first-time offenders.
93% of sex crimes are committed by offenders known to the victim, in a place familiar to the victim.

In 2015, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission published a report stating that the numbers of individuals convicted of sexual crimes in 2014, 95% of all sex crimes were committed by first time offenders. The report also indicated that a salient offense factor related to stranger on stranger offending was the use of force. Of the 491 adjudicated cases in 2014, 70 offenses were against strangers and were placed in the category of “Provision Force/Other.”

Of these 70 offenses, eight were against children. These eight releases represent 1. 6% of the 491 people released in 2014. These results contradict the need and efficacy of the Taylors Falls’ ordinance as well as the ordinances in the other communities who followed suit. ³

OCEAN is in agreement with the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers-which does not support the use of residence restriction laws as a sex offender management strategy.

There is no research to support the effectiveness of residence restriction in reducing sexual offense recidivism, and these types of policies often have the unintended consequences that may compromise, rather than promote, public safety. Id

FOOTNOTES

¹ State of MN ex rel, Antwone Ford, Appellant vs. Paul Schnell, Commissioner of Corrections, Supreme Court A l 7-1895 filed 9/11/19 also see the news article : Minnesota Lawyer, “Justices Grant Habeas Corpus to Sex Offender” 9/14/19 by Kevin Featherly.

²Rick Weinberger is a licensed psychologist, a Clinical Member of A TSA, and at the time of this writing, the Inpatient Clinical Director at Alpha Human Services, www.alphaservices.org. Much appreciation to the Minnesota Sex Offender and Reentry Proj ect (MNSORP) for their help in writing this paper. www.mnsorp.org

³Sexual offender Residence Restrictions, A TSA Policy Statement, August 2014.Retrieved 2/12.2016. http://www.atsa.com/pdfs/policy/2014SOResidenceRestrictions.pdf

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