In Austin, Texas on Wednesday morning, United States District Judge Donovan Frank gave Minnesota officials until August 10th to begin negotiating new remedies for their current civil commitment program for sex offenders. According to Frank, the way that Minnesota handles their sexual offenders is unconstitutional.
Both Texas and Minnesota are states that keep certain sex offenders who are likely to commit new sex crimes locked up despite their prison sentences being completed. While Minnesota’s program currently includes 700 offenders, of which only three have been provisionally released but are kept under close supervision. In Texas, they have about 375 sex offenders, but about 180 are kept in county jails or halfway houses in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso and Austin where they are monitored with ankle bracelets.
It is hoped that soon, both states will go through reforms as courts begin to declare their programs as unconstitutional due to the fact that many offenders have pending lawsuits against the courts for being incarcerated unconstitutionally after their prison sentences were completed.