Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ludeman alters SO report to promote Pawlenty's views

I'm pretty sure this has happened in many places. A politician alters a report to reflect his views. This is corruption at its worst. They should string this guy up on corruption charges. I'll have to send this to Chris-- maybe he'll write a response I can post here::

http://www.startribune.com/politics/local/115534414.html

Details on sex offender program deleted

Cal Ludeman, a Tim Pawlenty confidant and his commissioner of Human Services, edited a report on Minnesota's sex offender treatment to reflect Pawlenty's views.
Last update: February 7, 2011 - 11:27 PM

A report on Minnesota's sex-offender program delivered to legislators in the final days of the Pawlenty administration was heavily edited by a top political appointee to reflect the former governor's skepticism about the effectiveness of treatment and to delete arguments for expanded community resources for offenders.

Cal Ludeman, a Pawlenty confidant and his commissioner of Human Services, said in an interview that he edited the mandated report because "it was promising too much'' and the administration preferred to continue its emphasis on tougher prison sentences for sex offenders.

Ludeman said he did not believe his actions misled legislators, who will have to make funding decisions and policy choices this session on the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP).

But Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, who served on a task force charged with finding ways to cut the program's costs, said Monday she was angered that the editing, in effect, withheld information from legislators.
Sex-offender treatment is one of the fastest growing expenses in the state budget, she said, and requires urgent attention from lawmakers.

Sex-offender treatment is one of the fastest growing expenses in the state budget, she said, and requires urgent attention from lawmakers.

A spokesman said Pawlenty was traveling Monday evening and was not available to comment.

Ludeman also deleted a passage on the need to educate children on sex abuse and violence, and another on ways the Department of Health could help conduct prevention campaigns. On Tuesday, MSOP officials are due to brief a legislative committee about the future of the $64 million program. It currently holds more than 600 offenders -- some of them violent, many of them chronic -- at secure facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake. Its population is expected to reach more than 1,100 by 2020.

Tug of war

The decision to withhold certain recommendations from legislators comes at a crucial time for the 17-year-old program, which has been buffeted for years between political pressure to confine offenders indefinitely and legal concerns that such a practice is unconstitutional. Last year a special professional review board recommended that two convicted rapists held in St. Peter be provisionally discharged into halfway houses in the Twin Cities. If a state Supreme Court appeals panel this spring approves those recommendations, it would be the first time since the mid-1990's such a decision was made.

Ludeman said Pawlenty's senior staff was aware that he made the deletions late last year to better fit the administration's political philosophy. He said the advisers approved his edited version. He acknowledged that he and Pawlenty spoke frequently about how to manage and treat offenders, but said he did not know whether Pawlenty was aware of his specific redactions.

Ludeman said he believed that his deletions did not leave a "huge void of information.'' Asked if legislators might wonder why he edited out information provided by the state's most knowledgeable experts on sex offenders, he said, "I can't answer that -- I don't know what they would want to know.''

"I think the [final] report was visibly consistent with what the governor's view was," he said. The state can choose between a "corrections environment'' for chronic offenders and indefinite confinement in treatment programs, Ludeman said. He added: "What we've been working on is trying to lengthen the stay in corrections'' for the most serious offenders.

In the last year of his administration, Pawlenty pushed for first-degree sex offenders to have their sentences doubled -- to as much as 25 years -- and then use civil commitment mostly as a way to hold offenders even longer.

Berglin responded: "I thought the purpose of this report was to look at ways that we could rein costs in. To say, 'Well, these are sex offenders, we just have to keep paying as much as we are,' is a ridiculous notion. You know, we're not children, we don't need to be protected from information about spending.''
No other options?

Among the sections completely deleted from the report was a discussion of alternatives to long-term civil commitment and a discussion of help for juveniles who have committed acts of sexual abuse. One deleted passage read: "There may be a limited proportion of commitments in which placement in a highly secure setting like MSOP is not necessary, yet is the only option because no lesser restrictive option currently exists.''
A passage arguing that the state Health Department could improve education for parents and troubled youth was deleted, Ludeman said, because he didn't think that was what legislators would be interested in reading.

The Department of Human Services, he said, "was setting itself up in the original report to be the expert in what it took in education and community support to prevent future sex offenders,'' he said. He said that, in his view, education and prevention are the responsibility of the "education system, parents and law enforcement.''

"To say that we can get them the appropriate mental health treatment protocol is something that [Human Services] is not ready, certainly not able, to do, and I thought this report was being too positive,'' Ludeman said.

Paul McEnroe • 612-673-1745

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Once again, reports of possible releases

I won't cut and paste the entire article here but its another year and another round of speculation as to whether MN-MSOP will release Chris Krych or anyone else:

http://www.startribune.com/local/115381664.html

State may loosen grip on sex offenders

The possible release of two violent rapists reflects growing legal concerns over indefinite detention.
Last update: February 6, 2011 - 12:20 AM

In a rare step, state officials have recommended supervised release for two violent sex offenders who are under indefinite commitment at a state treatment center in St. Peter, according to documents and authorities familiar with the cases.

The recommendations -- the first of their kind in nearly 15 years -- reflect an emerging shift in thinking among officials in charge of Minnesota's controversial sex offender program. Created in 1994, it allows the state to hold offenders indefinitely -- for years, even decades -- at highly secure facilities in Moose Lake and St. Peter.

Officials familiar with the cases contend that the state must find a new balance between ensuring public safety and acknowledging the rights of offenders who have submitted to long detention and completed therapy. The shift, which emerged from closed sessions last year, occurs against a backdrop of explosive growth in the program's population and costs. The state's offender population has tripled since 2003 -- to 605 people last year -- making Minnesota first per capita among states in confining sex offenders and third overall in offender population, behind California and Florida.

But officials, clinicians and legal experts say their main concern is that the program might not withstand new court challenges over the constitutionality of holding offenders for years without the prospect of release.
Nonetheless, the prospective release of ****** and ***** is sure to reignite debate over public safety and the effectiveness of therapy for violent, chronic sex offenders.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Michael Farnsworth created a monster

Larger viewSince I haven't gotten anything recent for Chris, I'd like to share something from Minnesota Public Radio from 2007. It is an article on how sex offender laws are based on myth and not fact. The focus is on the part of the article addressing the MN-MSOP, particularly fropm the very man who designed the program in place.


http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2007/06/11/sexoffender2/?refid=0

SEX OFFENDER PROGRAM HEAD: "I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE"
 
The Minnesota civil commitment program is considered a model for other states. But the man who designed the program says it's become irrelevant because of politics. 

Michael Farnsworth says high-risk sex offenders are often very difficult to rehabilitate. But he says the Minnesota civil commitment program used a medical model based on science, to give offenders a chance to prove they can change.

Farnsworth left his job as head of the sex offender program in 2003, when the model program was caught in the middle of election-year politics. 

"The attorney general at the time was, 'I'm going to be tough on crime, the governor is soft on crime and soft on sex offenders.' The governor was declaring he was not going to allow any sex offenders out on his watch," Farnsworth recalls. 

"The message patients in the program got was, 'It doesn't matter how hard you work or whether you might recover, you're not getting out.' So if you want to undermine a program, that's the best way to do it," says Farnsworth. "Get the chief executive officer of your state to tell them that no matter how hard they work, they'll never get out. At that point I said, 'I can't do this work anymore.'" 

Farnsworth says too often sex offender management is left to what he calls the hysterics and politics of the moment. He says the debate needs to move to another level. 

"We haven't come to that intellectually honest place about what we really want to do with the group," 

Farnsworth says. "If you wanted to look at your best bang for the dollar you'd simply lock anyone up who's a sex offender and not pretend that you're providing treatment. You'd save a lot of money."

"I think it's more politically palatable to say, 'We are trying to provide treatment,' than to say, 'We just want to lock people up forever,'" says Farnsworth. "But the net effect, given the climate we live in, is that we end up locking them up forever, but doing so at the high cost of treatment." 

Farnsworth says that decision has consequences. He says the state spends millions on a program politicians don't trust, to treat sex offenders who will never be released. 

Farnsworth wonders, would that money be better spent on programs to treat the troubled kids who grow up to be sex offenders?