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Committee again considers whether to shorten sentences for repeat offenders

28 July 2022

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A group of Gov. Tim Walz appointees are meeting Thursday to discuss the current sentencing guidelines in Minnesota. Part of that discussion is shortening the sentences for offenders who commit another crime while out on parole or probation.

The sentencing guidelines commission meeting, which is happening at 1:30 p.m., is not a vote for or against reduced sentences. Rather, it is a community meeting to continue the discussion over Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines and how to make them better target problem behaviors.

In January, the sentencing change was a proposal that the commission was going to vote on, but was tabled after more than 3,000 Minnesotans submitted testimony, with 95% of them saying they were against reduced sentences for repeat offenders.

All of that public reaction prompted the commission go back to research, and determine how to better refine sentencing guidelines in Minnesota.

On Thursday morning, Republican representatives from the Minnesota House voiced their concerns over this commission. They believe this will put more repeat violent criminals back out on the streets when crime, they argue, is already at all-time high.

Instead they’d like to see any sentencing changes go through the legislature.

“Minnesotans are not asking for us to be softer on crime. Minnesotans are asking for us to hold criminals accountable,” Minnesota House Deputy Minority Leader Anne Neu Brindley said. “Any proposal right now that continues to work through the process — again, with unelected, unaccountable board members — is a bad way to do this. If Democrats and Gov. Walz want to move forward with this, they should bring a bill to the legislature, where this can be thoroughly and very publicly vetted.”

WCCO spoke with a representative for the Department of Corrections who said the majority of repeat criminals who are out on parole or probation are not committing violent crime, but typically dealing with addiction and breaking the law that way.

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Author: Marielle Mohs

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