We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.


January 2003 (revised 2/04):

The Minnesota Legislature requested a report from the commissioner of corrections to address issues regarding residential locations of level three sex offenders (see Appendix A: Minnesota Session Laws 2002, Chapter 385, Sec. 10).

Offender Characteristics
As of December 31, 2002, there are 329 designated level three offenders in Minnesota. Of those, 97 are in residential settings in a Minnesota community. All are male. Fifty of those live in Hennepin County, 14 in Ramsey County, six in Olmsted County, and four in St. Louis County. Twenty-three live elsewhere, with no county having more than two.

Legislation mandating this report directed the commissioner of corrections to report on eight is-sues concerning level three sex offenders. This section of the report responds to that directive. ..more.. by Minnesota Department of Corrections




1. Proximity restrictions have been adopted in other states, but there has been little experience with actual implementation of these laws. Two states, Alabama and Iowa, recently enacted or revised proximity restrictions. In October 2002, Iowa had the first charge against an of-fender for violating their law. This is considered a test case for the restrictions.

2. Proximity restrictions would severely limit already scarce residential options for level three offenders.

3. There is no evidence in Minnesota that residential proximity to schools or parks affects re-offense. Thirteen level three offenders released between 1997 and 1999 have been rearrested for a new sex offense since their release from prison, and in none of the cases has residential proximity to schools or parks been a factor in the re-offense.

4. There is no evidence that concentration of level three sex offenders increases the likelihood of reoffense within the community. Four of the 13 level three reoffenders were living with other sex offenders at the time of their rearrest. However, in three of these cases, the sex offenders were living together while in county jail, civilly committed, or in a halfway house. In the fourth instance, a level three offender re-offended while he was living with a level two sex offender. This offender provided information to his therapist, which eventually led to the rearrest of the level three offender for a child pornography offense.

5. Information on sex offenders has a negative effect on the perception of safety in a neighbor-hood. Increased information on sex offenders has a negative effect on property values. Increased residential concentration of level three offenders – in addition to other negative neighborhood issues such as crime, housing deterioration, environmental hazards, and traffic problems – expands that negative effect.

6. Proximity restrictions will have the effect of restricting level three offenders to less populated areas, with fewer supervising agents and fewer services for offenders (i.e., employment, education, and treatment). The result of proximity restrictions would be to limit most level three offenders to rural, suburban, or industrial areas.

1. Since blanket proximity restrictions on residential locations of level three offenders do not enhance community safety, the current offender-by-offender restrictions should be retained. Proximity restrictions, based on circumstances of an individual offender, serve as a valuable supervision tool. Continued use – through extension of conditional release and specific release conditions and restrictions – is appropriate. Most of these supervision prox-imity restrictions address the issue of the offender associating or interacting with children or minors, rather than where the offender resides.

2. Public notification of residential locations of level three offenders serves a valuable ser-vice and should continue. Community residents with this knowledge are able to determine what level of interaction they feel is acceptable for their family safety. The information raises awareness, dispels rumors, and allows greater knowledge of safety issues.

3. A legislative hearing on the expansion of housing options should be held. Appropriate housing is the key to dispersal and successful placement of the sex offender population. A legislative hearing to address all the issues related to housing of released level three sex of-fenders would prove valuable. The DOC is currently conducting an interagency work group on offender housing. Included in this group’s study are the unique challenges of finding housing options for level three offenders. Options under exploration are public/private part-nerships, charitable and nonprofit efforts, changes in policy, and other outreach programs.

4. Explore various housing options. The interagency work group on offender housing spon-sored by the DOC is approaching the need for offender housing through several methods. These methods include identifying ways to assist offenders in becoming more attractive ten-ants, as well as identifying ways to encourage and assist landlords in providing housing to of-fenders. Also, the work group is identifying various models of existing housing programs that may be adaptable to address the housing needs of offenders as they transition from prison to the community. Approaches such as master leases and “three-quarter way” houses seem appropriate for the offender population for several reasons – among them the flexibility to expect many offenders to reach and maintain housing self-sufficiency fairly soon after re-lease.

The population that presents the most daunting housing issues is sex offenders who are iden-tified as levels two and three through the community notification process. At present, no spe-cial solutions have been identified for this population.
Although the work group has not completed its task the time of this report, the following rec-ommendations are offered:

a) Increase the number and capacity of halfway houses. In some cases the needs of the offender and public safety are best served when the offender transitions to the community through the highly structured environment of a halfway house. Current halfway house resources are inadequate to meet the number of offenders who need services. Also, there are regions of the state that have no halfway house resources.

b) Provide funding to establish “three-quarter way” houses. These houses provide an-other step in a continuum of housing options. Three-quarter way houses provide afford-able housing for offenders and a positive supportive community within the house. There is no staff on the premises, but some degree of monitoring of the house is done by off-site staff. Such a facility also allows for an increased level of community supervision by agents, law enforcement, and the public. Most often these houses are expected to be nearly financially self-sufficient after an initial start-up period.

c) Provide funding for scattered site lease programs. Housing for offenders can be eco-nomically provided by contracting with housing programs. Housing programs can lease properties from owners and sublease to offenders. Included in this plan is the expectation that the offender is assessed payment on a sliding fee schedule. It is also an expectation that the offender will assume responsibility for all housing expenses soon after release.

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