Wisconsin's handling of sex offenders lauded during first day of MSOP trial

During the first day of a trial regarding the constitutionality of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, the attorney who in essence represents the state's 709 civilly committed sex offenders contrasted Minnesota's system with the way Wisconsin handles offenders.

Attorney Dan Gustafson's first witness was Deborah McCulloch, director of Wisconsin's Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center.

MORE -- Is the Minnesota Sex Offender Program constitutional?

Since Minnesota instituted its current program 21 years ago, not a single offender has been fully released. But during that same timeframe, Wisconsin, has unconditionally discharged 118 offenders.

In court today, McCulloch described sensing during a visit to MSOP's Moose Lake facility "a despair about never being able to progress... or to never be released at all."

Echoing those remarks, Gustafson said, "We argue [MSOP] is unconstitutional in part because it's a failure... nobody ever gets out."

"The heart of the case is this question of fundamental liberty," Gustafson continued. "All of these people have completed their criminal sentences [yet] they've been committed indefinitely."

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