Doctor says TVs at sex offender facility are not the problem

Flat-screen TV
One of the 50-inch large-screen TVs is seen at Minnesota's sex offender treatment facility in Moose Lake, Minn., Oct. 13, 2009. Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he's ordering the removal of the big flat-screen TVs from the facility.
AP Photo/Mike Kaszuba, The Star Tribune

State lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are decrying the purchase of about 25 plasma televisions for a sex offender treatment facility in Moose Lake. The TVs cost more than $2,000 each.

Tuesday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty demanded they be removed and sold.

"If they needs to have televisions in common areas, they can have smaller, simpler, fewer and cheaper ones," Pawlenty said. "They don't need 50-inch flat screen plasma televisions for sex offenders. So, clearly somebody just made a bonehead decision, and I'm going to reverse it."

One doctor who had initially helped design the treatment program says the uproar over the TVs obscures larger issues with the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. Dr. Michael Farnsworth is a psychiatrist and former Medical Director for the Department of Human Services and he talked with All Things Considered about the real problems with the program.

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