Predatory Offender Registry — Minnesota Considers Effectiveness

In August 2019, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety held its first Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutory Reform Working Group. Enabled by the Minnesota Legislature to consider what reforms, if any, were needed to Minnesota’s criminal sexual conduct laws, the Working Group is comprised of victim advocate groups, law enforcement, prosecutors, and defense attorneys. There are five subcommittees of the Working Group:

1) Outcomes 1 (Stays and Predatory Offender Registry)
2) Age Subcommittee
3) Capacity Subcommittee
4) Professionals/Occupations Subcommittee
5) Force/Coercion Subcommittee

Setting the stage for the work, the first meeting was introduced from the victim’s and prosecutor’s perspective.

Last month (March 11, 2020), the Outcomes Committee held a special panel focused on the Predatory Offender Registry to consider its effectiveness. The panel included: Brad Colbert (Legal Assistance to Minnesota Prisoners), Patty Wetterling, Eric Janus (Mitchell Hamline School of Law), Paul Young (Anoka County Attorney’s office), and Stacy Bettison (Kelley, Wolter & Scott).

For more information about Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registry, read Stacy Bettison’s feature article in the Minnesota Bench and Bar: “The New Scarlet Letter — Is Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registry helping or hurting?” Bettison took a comprehensive look at the history of Minnesota’s sex offender registry, and analyzed its modern-day application. Interviewing practitioners, scholars and victim advocates, the article considered the many pitfalls for registrants and whether the registry is helping to prevent sexual violence, clear suspects and track the people who present the highest risk for offending.

Panelists Brad Colbert, Patty Wetterling, Paul Young and Stacy Bettison lead a discussion about the Predatory Offender Registry.