The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 23, 2013

Offender release flub shocking

Why it matters: Public safety is jeopardized when state fails to manage sex offender facility

The release of a dangerous sex offender onto a street corner in Minneapolis a few weeks ago should give all Minnesotans reason to question the operations charged with securing and treating some of the state’s most dangerous predators.

Raymond Traylor was legally released from the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter because state officials charged with managing his case forgot or neglected to fill out paperwork. Then two security guards dropped him off about a quarter mile from the homeless shelter he was supposed to be staying at, according to an Aug. 6 report by the Star Tribune.

He eventually ended up at a Salvation Army shelter for men and women, a place not exactly equipped to handle people like Traylor who had severe mental health problems and a extremely violent past.

This story along with many others show a pattern of basic failures of management at the St. Peter Security Hospital and sex offender treatment program. The management failures have risen to a level dire conceren. The burgeoning run of incompetence falls to the facility, the Department of Human Service and the Dayton administration.

To their credit, Dayton administration officials admit their failings and “cracks” in the system. But there have been enough instances of failure that this should rise to the level of continual, daily, executive oversight. Dayton should get a report every day on the status of operations at St. Peter and Moose Lake if he doesn’t already.

Traylor was released because medical officials had missed the deadline for filing a 60-day progress report to a Hennepin County judge. There obviously was not enough oversight in this case. Some senior official should be checking if the correct reports are getting filed, especially reports that determine a patient’s release or continued treatment.

Deputy Commissioner of Human Services Anne Barry conceded the state made mistakes in missing the report deadline. But she claimed that Traylor wasn’t dangerous as long as he was on his medicine and being treated. That’s little comfort to those who are familiar with Traylor’s record.

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