The MSOP...

The MSOP...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

11/29/12 Meeting: Progress

The day began with meeting my Dad at White Castle for the drive into St Paul together to attend the Task Force meeting. A meter was actually NOT covered at the Capital near the State Office Building so the day began with great promise. I introduced my Dad to Judge Kathleen Gearin on the way in.

I thought Judge Gearin set the tone once the meeting began. She stated plainly that men will be coming out of MSOP, and then discussion was had at length about Less Restrictive Alternatives (LRA). Some members of the Task Force indicated that the work done to date had been focused solely on LRA, to the exclusion of the larger, and more pressing issues of the process in general.

The most important thing I heard said today involved a TF member stating what I have Recommended here in my blog: To dispense with MSOP treatment completion as being a requirement to advance for consideration of PD and replacing that ridiculous Model with a Risk-Based model, with MSOP treatment status just one of many factors considered in determining current risk. Just then someone really bothered by having his power in this abused area of law diminished and possibly removed entirely by legislators momentarily distracted me, and it caused me to miss the rest of this exchange.

Here is a draft of the Task Force Recommendations relating to LRA:

I am hopeful that Don Jaworski, Task Force Liaison is making progress with making the audio available for the public. When I discussed this with Don today, he mentioned that the DHS would have to transcribe the CD's to be able to post them onlone or the CD's could be sold. I'm fine either way. I am requesting all audio be made available one way or another please ASAP. I would think DHS would want to transcribe these original audios from these important, historic meetings for authentication/accuracy.

It is imperative that outstate experts are selected who are neutral, and not just State hacks from another SVP state. I think it advisable to consider adding an outstate retired judge who has experience with these cases also. Just tweak the portion of the non-introduced draft bill from 2011, with an understanding that the panel as suggested is not acceptable because these very MN "stakeholders" have been the problem for 20 years. You must have outside supervision of any state psychologists who are doing these cases for the AG's office and or County Attorneys because of the obvious bias that pressure creates. These doctors are selected to say yes to commitment no matter what.

The two Judges on the TF--the two Chairs, have been advocating for this limited piece (Charge #2 of 3 in the Karsjens Order) to go forward by December 3, with the understanding that the whole mess would be looked at next year, while others advocated for a broader scope. The TF Chair indicated that time constraints were requiring the narrower focus for now.

Ultimately, Rep Abeler & Liebling's proposal of two meetings in January and one in February to discuss the bigger picture was settled on as a proper course of action. I am in agreement with this plan/strategy, and very strongly believe that much more work needs to happen over the next few months before heading into Session. I think the Chair and Vice-Chair, and TF did a commendable job today pulling all of this together.

My main criticism would be offered constructively in that I thought that there would be a Cloud-type workspace location for Group access for Task Force members, as well as qualified individuals. I'm encouraged by the recent list serve that DHS/TF has set-up. I'm hoping this idea comes to fruition.

Senator Lourey stated that the legislators on the TF are ready for some bold action this session and I applaud him. I urge the legislature to consider all of my Recommendations in this blog, and strongly suggest that without plainly telling the federal court that Minnesota is seriously considering repealing their sexual civil commitment laws and joining the other 30 states, that the Federal Court may do it for them. At a minimum, "bold" legislation would have to include a statewide moratorium on SDP/SPP commitments in Minnesota while the TF works to study the depths of the problem. I thought the Chair showed some naivite' in suggesting that there was a "fix" to these problems.

The Chair will discover as he learns more about these issues that there is no fix. The Chair may have meant improve, but his term caught my attention. There is no way to have constitutional flow from unconstitutional law. MSOP has never been about treatment or reintegration. Just read what ex-MSOP staff member Andrew Babcock testified to years ago about what the MSOP really is:

Until the State admits this and moves on to a different system of Preventive Detention, the State will always have expensive litigation to deal with. There are 65 civil suits on hold right now because of the class-action certification. That is another reason why the legislature must repeal the SDP Act this upcoming session. That is Step 1 to getting a handle on this Constitutional Crisis.

Anyone alleged to be so dangerous as to require civil commitment can be committed under SPP (if that statute survives this legislative session) or the MID statute, as many MID patients have sex offense histories. The State will never build enough beds or spend enough money to solve MSOP's problems.

The problems are extremely complex, but they stem from the U.S. Supreme Court's unwillingness to provide clear direction re civil vs. criminal schemes, the vagueness with regard to the nature and severity of the requisite mental abnormality and/or illness in the [SVP] arena, the use of civil commitment after completing the criminal sentence, and then, never discharging the clients/patients.

An amendment to the German Preventive Detention scheme mirroring MN was held unconstitutional in the European Courts in 2011. Our CC scheme is viewed as a Human Rights Violation in Europe.

One paper that would assist the Task Force in understanding better why this Draft is not adequate, and why repealing the SDP/SPP laws are the only logical, rational way to proceed as a State:

It has taken 20 years to get here. Do we want a 20 year legal battle over MSOP? Can we afford it? Is it necessary? No. There are other options if Preventive Detention is the solution the State wants for Sex Offenders, then at least be honest about it and impose this collateral sanction at sentencing, like the German Scheme I blogged about in another post. Now, that would be a Bold piece of legislation.

I enjoyed meeting and chatting briefly with DOC Commissioner Tom Roy, Victim Advocate Donna Dunn, Gerald Kaplan from Alpha Services, Rep's Abeling and Liebling, Ombudsman Roberta Opheim & Defense Attorney Ryan Magnus. I met a lady from Wisconsin's SVP Program (Ch. 980) and spoke briefly with Jeff Olson, who had some poignant public comments. HosPrisoner family members showed and spoke, and I was very happy to meet a few more HosPrisoner loved ones. I met Tammy Annen today in person for the first time, although we have communicated via email/phone for years now. Her son, Ryan Johnson, is a young kid whose grave offense (which was the tipping point for civil commitment in this insane system wherein they are totally incompetent in assessing risk) was smoking a joint. That is what triggered the State Targeting of her son. My Dad and I know what they are going through with their child in the MSOP "Treatment" Program:

Yeah, Treatment/Therapy...MSOP Style:

I decided at the last minute to make the public two minute remarks, so I dropped back like Tommy Kramer, and went into my 2-Minute Drill:

1) Repeal the SDP Act;
2) Outstate Panel to Supervise DOC Referrals/County Attorneys Petition Decisions;
3) Burden of Proof at Hold Hearing from Preponderance to Clear & Convincing;
4) Use CC at Sentencing, if at all;
5) Amend DOC Policy for referrals to High Risk only vs Moderate Risk and Low Risk w/Idiosyncrasy; and,
6) Use MCF-Lino Lakes for the MSOP Program while the State/Courts resolve the many issues of MSOP.

The Chair and Vice Chair were gracious and allowed me to make my comments. I am appreciative.

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