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Letter to DHS Commissioner Regarding MSOP

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 24, 2013


Commissioner Lucinda Jesson

Department of Human Services

State of Minnesota


Dear Commissioner Jesson,

We write to respond to your letter of September 12, 2013, explaining the Dayton administration’s plans to release sexually dangerous predators from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program into a far less secure facility in Cambridge, MN.  We have great concerns with your position.

The Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) has been essential to public safety in keeping dangerous sexual predators away from our communities and our innocent children unless, and until, those offenders can demonstrate to the courts that they no longer pose a danger to society.  MSOP administrators and clinicians have regularly stated that they have created a world class treatment program in Moose Lake.  Thus, we are perplexed by the direction that you and the governor are taking.

One major concern has been the lack of transparency in the process thus far.  Prior to the release of your letter, we are unaware of any meetings or advance communications with local officials, community leaders, or citizens in Cambridge on this important public safety issue.  Rather, like some other important issues at DHS lately, there is a veil of secrecy and a lack of information.

During this year’s legislative session, the Democratic majority introduced legislation to release dangerous sexual predators from MSOP into less restrictive alternatives.  Many questions were asked yet scant information was provided as to the specifics of what these less restrictive settings would look like.  With your recent letter, the questions are multiplied. 

Therefore, we request that you immediately hold a hearing where members of the public can testify and where questions can be asked and answered on the record in a public forum.

Detailed answers must be provided to concerns of: how the community will be better served by delivering dangerous sexual predators to a less secure facility; what statutory authority provides support for your actions; what constitutes a secure facility; how will these offenders be supervised and monitored; what treatment will be provided; what safeguards are in place if an offender walks away; how are these offenders evaluated; what is the cost of this pilot project; and many others. The process must be open, transparent, and allow for legislators, local officials, and the community to have all of their questions answered and to express their opinions on the matter. 

We look forward to hearing from you in the very near future.




Brian Johnson

State Representative, District 32A

(651) 296-4346

233 State Office Building

St. Paul, MN 55155


Nick Zerwas

State Representative, District 30A

(651) 296-4237

303 State Office Building

St. Paul, MN 55155