A Minnesota House committee has approved legislation aimed at keeping sex offenders in prison longer instead of a more costly civil commitment program.
The measure originally would have doubled the recommended sentence for first-degree sex offenders, but Rep.Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, revised his bill to include indeterminate sentencing.
Cornish said under the bill predatory offenders could now face up to 60 years behind bars, but some could eventually seek a conditional release.
"It works at getting closer to solving the problem rather than just throwing out a doubling of the offense, because it has a huge fiscal note with it also, and we don't really solve the problem," Cornish said. "It makes us feel good about locking people up, but it doesn't get near to solve the problem."
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek testified in support of the bill. He told legislators that released offenders currently live throughout the county, including his own Maple Grove neighborhood.
"These are the criminals that keep moms and dads up at night," Stanek" said. "They worry about the convicted offender who has served his sentence and is out on the streets, or in my case, living just down the street. They worry about their child being the next victim."
The House Public Safety Committee advanced the measure on a unanimous voice vote. The bill's next stop is the House judiciary committee.