A spiritual center for sex offenders?

Democrats in the Minnesota Legislature are criticizing Gov. Pawlenty’s plans to expand a sex offender treatment facility in Moose Lake. Pawlenty wants the Legislature to authorize $89 million in state spending to expand the 400 bed facility. But several lawmakers told MPR they aren’t so excited about the other features in the blue pringt. They include a craft room, a recreation area, a spiritual center and a library.

“I question whether or not that’s the right kind of amenities to put in there,” said Rep. Loren Solberg, DFL-Grand Rapids. “The rest of us in society have libraries by Bookmobile. Maybe that’s what they need to do.”

Bonnie Martin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services, issued a statement saying the Minnesota Sex Offender Program is a treatment center, not a prison:

A spiritual center and canteen, as well as programming and education space are part of providing a comprehensive and effective treatment program. These elements are critical to meeting the constitutional threshold for a program for people who are civilly committed.

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