Friday, June 14, 2013

JNS BLOG SUPER EXCLUSIVE: "Shot Across The Bow" Letter Mailed To Minnesota Department Of Corrections By Hennepin County Board Of Commissioners On The Issue Of Level Three Sex Offender Concentration, PART TWO...

Stock photo, blog post by John Hoff

The official name of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners is actually "Board of Hennepin County Commissioners." But I prefer my way, better, and I hear everybody else using the same name for the board. So I'm doing it my way.

In Part One, I published the first half of a "shot across the bow" letter written by Mike Opat, Chair of the County Board, about the topic of Level Three Sex Offender Concentration in Hennepin County. At the end of Part One, Opat was in the middle of citing particularly egregious examples of dangerous predatory offenders dumped on Hennepin County who rightfully belonged in OTHER counties.

The letter continues, as follows...

Ricky Hartman--Convicted of performing oral sex on a 12-year-old unrelated male and threatened to kill him in Wright County (1991). He was released from prison in 2010 and resided at 180 degrees. Hennepin County rejected supervision of Mr. Hartman on several occasions because he did not have stable housing in Hennepin County. Ultimately, Mr. Hartman violated the terms of his supervised release because he could not find stable housing and he was returned to prison. After Mr. Hartman sued MN DOC (and Hennepin County) because he was not released on his projected release date, a Wright County judge ruled that Mr. Hartman had to be released within 30 days. Rather than force Wright County to find a place for Mr. Hartman to live, MN-DOC forced Hennepin County to accept supervision of Mr. Hartman.

Wright County has zero Level III Predatory Offenders living there.

Andre Tolefree--Convicted of sex crimes in St. Louis County (2005) and Goodhue County (2007). The 2005 offense was a violent assault against his girlfriend using a knife and the 2007 offense was meeting a 17-year-old female in a chat room on the internet and then sexually assaulting her at knife point in her parents' home. He was released to Goodhue County, absconded and found in a woman's restroom. He was returned to prison and when released again, he was initially supposed to go to Bethel (supervised residential facility) in Duluth; however Bethel rejected placement.

Once rejected at Duluth Bethel, MN DOC informed Goodhue County that Mr. Tolfree (sic, note spelling variation on last name--JNS) would not be released back to Goodhue County. Instead, MN DOC informed Hennepin County that he had historical ties in Hennepin County as Mr. Tolfree's sister lived in Hennepin County. However, upon investigation by Hennepin County it was determined that Mr. Tolfree did not have a sister residing in Hennepin County. Despite this fact, Mr. Tolfree was released to 180 Degrees in Hennepin County.

Mr. Tolfree then absconded from 180 Degrees and now has been charged in Hennepin County with failure to register as a sex offender charges. As a result of this new offense, Hennepin County will now be the county with the governing offense with respect to Mr. Tolfree. Goodhue County has one Level Three Predatory Offender living there.

In light of the concentration of Level III Predatory Offenders in Minneapolis, the examples cited above are outrageous. It appears that the MN DOC has decided to resolve the problems associated with finding stable housing for Level III Predatory offenders by simply dumping this problem on Hennepin County and Minneapolis.

On numerous occasions, Hennepin County has objected to authorizing out-of-county Level III Predatory Offenders to move to Hennepin County. Pursuant to MN DOC Administrative Policy 201.20(K)(4) and 203.018(B)(5), the MN-DOC Deputy Commissioner has repeatedly overruled Hennepin County's objections and forced Hennepin County to accept supervision of these Predatory Offenders in Hennepin County.

By forcing Hennepin County to accept Level III Predatory Offenders onto ISR supervision (15 to 1), Hennepin County has had to reallocate other violent offenders to other managed caseloads. In other words, Hennepin County is being forced to supervise out-of-county Level III Predatory Offenders without additional resources and therefore must move other high risk offenders off of ISR. This is unacceptable and raises significant public safety concerns.

(JNS blog says: But here is where I fear a "devil's bargain" in the making. I worry that Hennepin County is willing to accept this "dumping" of Level III sex offenders as long as additional financial resources are "dumped" along with them. And that's just not acceptable to the neighborhoods who are forced to deal with all these dangerous, predatory offenders. We don't want MORE MONEY. We want LESS SEX OFFENDERS forced upon us as neighbors)

Again, the concentration of Level III Predatory Offenders residing in Minneapolis is outrageous, especially when these offenders are residing in neighborhoods with the most need. Rather than working on meaningful ways to alleviate this concentration, the MN DOC is exacerbating it by placing out-of-county Level III Predatory Offenders in Minneapolis. In light of the concentration of the offenders, the number of out-of-county Level III Predatory Offenders being forced into Hennepin County must stop. Accordingly, I would like an immediate commitment from you, that MN DOC will not force Hennepin County to accept supervision of out-of-county Level III Predatory Offenders who have minimal connections to Minneapolis.

In addition, I would like to meet with you to discuss specific policies and strategies that MN DOC can employ to alleviate the problem of concentration of Level III Predatory Offenders in Minneapolis.


Mike Opat, Chair
Hennepin County Board of Commissioners

CC: Governor Mark Dayton, Hennepin County Commissioners, Senator D. Scott Dibble, Senator Ron Latz, Representative Debra Hillstrom, Representative Michael Paymar, Mayor R.T. Rybak, City of Minneapolis; David J. Hough, Hennepin County Administrator, Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Tom Merkel, Director, Hennepin County Department of Community Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

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