“So if what you’re doing is punishing them for being rapists, you can’t do that prospectively,” says Filler.“But if you’re adopting a rehabilitative law — it’s the same thing we do in traditional mental health settings — sure, you can put people into a mental hospital.” Treatment in these settings, the Supreme Court warned, must be the real thing.Twenty-eight now, Bolte is one of 14 plaintiffs named in a class-action lawsuit that goes to trial tomorrow, alleging, in part, that the state’s sex-offender civil commitment program is a de facto life sentence.
We will work with the Attorney General to defend Minnesota’s law.” In defending the status quo, the governor demonstrates the very dynamic that Frank criticizes in his ruling: the program has become so dysfunctional in part because political leaders lack the incentive to institute reforms. Throughout his childhood, he bounced from treatment facility to juvenile placement to special schools.
When Craig Bolte takes the stand in a Minnesota courthouse this month, he will tell a story that will not be easy for anyone to hear. Then, beginning at age 10, Bolte did to a younger family member and four other kids what had been done to him.
Minnesota has the highest per capita commitment rate.
Wisconsin, a neighboring state with a demographic profile similar to Minnesota’s, has committed some 500 sex offenders and has released about 150, with a focused effort in recent years to release more people.
But the expert panel found that moving to this less-restrictive setting is “almost impossible,” and that clients languish in early phases for years, at times demoted to earlier phases as punishment for acting out.