Lawmakers struggle with mandate to reform Minnesota's sex offender treatment program

Investigators are trying to figure out what killed a second person this week at Minnesota's Sex Offender Program facility in Moose Lake.

The program saw its first suicide over the weekend and now the Department of Human Services says a 53-year-old man died yesterday. The man's body showed no signs of self-inflicted injury or violence according to the department.

The Sex Offender Program houses more than 600 Minnesotans who have completed their prison sentences but are undergoing treatment. Only one person has ever been released from confinement in the program. That fact has led to a federal class action lawsuit by other offenders, who are challenging whether the state has a right to hold them indefinitely.

The judge in that case ordered a task force to recommend changes to the program. Some of those proposed changes went before legislators but never became law.

State Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, chairs the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee. She discussed proposed changes to Minnesota's sex offender treatment program with Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer.

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