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Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, has introduced legislation that would require civilly committed sex offenders who commit felonies to serve prison time. Currently some individuals are placed on probation instead of being sent to prison.

Bill would require prison time for MSOP enrollees who commit felonies

Rep. Deb Hilstrom (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center, has introduced legislation that would require civilly committed sex offenders who commit felonies to serve prison time. Currently some individuals confined at MSOP are placed on probation instead of being sent to prison.

“Ultimately I believe that if they’re behaving in a criminally felonious fashion, then they should be spending their time in prison,” said Hilstrom, who is a prosecutor with the Anoka County Attorney’s Office. “What I’m really arguing here is if you’re committing a felony while you’re already civilly committed, you’re really not amenable to probation. You should just go to prison. ”

Hilstrom’s proposal has already garnered bipartisan support. GOP Reps. Tony Cornish, of Vernon Center, and Jim Abeler, of Anoka, are among the co-authors of the proposal. The legislation would likely save the state money since it costs roughly three times as much to keep someone detained at the MSOP as it does in prison.

In 2012, there were 386 investigations of misconduct by individuals enrolled in the MSOP, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which oversee the program. Those investigations resulted in 39 felony convictions. That number included 25 assault convictions and six criminal sexual conduct prosecutions.

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