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Friday, January 20, 2006

Sex crime laws

A bunch of new laws are being proposed to deal with sex crimes. Rep. Joe Atkins, a DFLers from Inver Grove Heights, is proposing that everybody convicted of a sex crime be evaluated to determine their risk of reoffense, instead of just those criminals that serve time, as is current practice. This would, of course, result in an increased cost to the state for evaluating these people and tracking them if it is warranted.

Another proposal is from Republican Jeff Johnson, a representative from Plymouth and a Republican candidate for Attorney General. His proposal would require active GPS tracking of Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders for as long as they are on supervised release, which may be for the rest of their lives. There is no firm cost, but Johnson estimates that the total cost won't be more than $8 million per year.

These aren't terribly bad ideas. Rep. Atkins' would probably cost less and not face as much constitutional scrutiny as Rep. Johnson's plan. But if the legislature does tighten the laws and mandate more tracking, they have to provide the resources to do it. It is no benefit to public safety if law enforcement officers are forced to do more with less. There are more criminals than just sex offenders out there.

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