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Legislator Votes to Take Away Wages from Sex Offenders

October 26, 2009

startribune.com (MN): A vote against paying wages to sex offenders

More pandering by politicians…

Matt Dean, a Republican legislator from Dellwood, said he did not think it was a good idea for a state-run treatment facility to pay the patients for any work they performed — especially when the program’s costs were spiraling upward and no patient had been successfully treated and released from the program by the courts. So Dean authored legislation earlier this year that would make it mandatory that 50 percent of their wages go to help pay for the program’s costs and that the other 50 percent not encumbered by a court order go to the crime victims reparations board.

A spokesperson for the state sex offender program said patients are paid $7.25 an hour when they participate in vocational programming, can work up to 30 hours a week and that up to 50 percent of their earnings go to paying for the program’s costs.

Though Dean’s proposal received a legislative hearing last spring, it eventually died. Dean, the lead Republican on the House Human Services Finance committee, said he later offered a watered down version on the House floor, asking that it be mandatory that 50 percent of the wages paid to sex offenders go to help pay the program’s rising costs. That proposal, he said, failed too.

“The purpose of that was to try to get [more] of the funds back,” Dean said in an interview after the Star Tribune wrote last week. “A lot of people are very surprised that they actually do collect a wage.

“It’s a very odd population, and it’s also one that infuriates people,” he added.

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