Plan to house civilly committed sex offenders debated in Cambridge

Many residents of Cambridge, Minn. are upset about a state plan to house civilly committed sex offenders.

Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson wants to transfer six offenders with special needs from a compound in St. Peter, Minn. to a remodeled, lower-security building in the central Minnesota town.

The move comes as a federal class action suit charges sex offenders committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program are held in prison-like facilities that are more restrictive than necessary.

Cambridge's state representative, Republican Brian Johnson, says Jesson shouldn't change the sex offender program until a judge orders her to. He says the Cambridge facility is an inappropriate and possibly dangerous place to house sex offenders because it's adjacent to a park and near a school.

In a letter to the Cambridge city administrator, Jesson said her department has developed a basic framework for the new Cambridge facility but wants to complete it with community input.

The state has scheduled public meetings on the subject Tuesday in Cambridge.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the location of the compound where the offenders are currently housed. The story has been updated with the correct location.

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