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Registered Sex Offenders in Your Neighborhood

by | Dec 29, 2016 | Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

A registered sex offender often reside in neighborhoods with unsuspecting neighbors. According to 2016 Minnesota statistics, Mankato has only two registered sex offenders, but there are 118 registered sex offenders living in “nearby” Minneapolis neighborhoods.

Sex Crimes in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, over 90 percent of all convicted sex offenders know their victims prior to sexual assaults. A criminal defense attorney often sees people charged with Minnesota sex crimes against friends and family members, as well as children living in close proximity. In Minnesota, the most common sex offense committed by perpetrators who are convicted and sentenced to prison terms is child molestation. The second most common is rape, followed by incest and various sexual offenses that fall under categories of prostitution and pornography.

Minnesota operates on determinate sentencing laws established by the Guidelines Commission. What this means is that when a person is convicted of a sex crime and r is sentenced to prison, the approximate length of time spent in prison time has already been determined for that specific offense. The Judge still has the ability to change the sentence which is why a sentencing hearing is often the most important type of hearing that sex cases have. In Minnesota, prisoners spend two-thirds of their sentence in prison, and then released to a monitored probation. This is what we call “good time” in Minnesota. Be aware that every state and the federal system have various calculations for what they call “good time”.

Sex Offenders and Relocation

Minnesota sex offenders are not relocated to specific neighborhoods. When released from prison, they are free to live wherever they choose, but must keep their probation agent informed of their precise location. Most sex offenders are released to the jurisdiction where they were convicted. Offenders who wish to move to another jurisdiction must obtain permission through their probation officer which sometimes can be a problem and a criminal defense attorney needs to get involved to get the court to authorize it.

Statistics show that most sex offenders chose to live near family and friends when released from prison. They typically look for areas with affordable housing and easy access to available work. By law, government institutions, Departments of Corrections, Police Departments, and Minnesota courts are not allowed to tell offenders where to live.

The Community Notification Act

The Community Notification Act, established in 1991, requires all felony (level 3) sex offenders to register their home address with local law enforcement. In addition, the Community Notification Act of 1996 requires local law enforcement to inform the public about registered sex offenders living in their community. The Community Notification Act allows a community to prepare for the impact of a sex offender’s release and move into their neighborhood.

One area that can be very tricky for offenders is that any location they “regularly” spend the night, such as a girlfriend’s house or parents, must be listed as a secondary residence. Violation of this is a felony and is a presumptive one year in prison for failure to register.

Sex offenders convicted before 1991 are not required to register their home address with law enforcement. Sex offenders released from prison before 1997 are not subject to community notification.

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