The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

October 27, 2012

Ojanpa: Level threes -- by the numbers

— Perhaps no group of criminals incurs the public’s wrath more than sex offenders — so-called level three offenders in particular.

These are the people the state deems most likely to reoffend. It doesn’t mean they will; it means that in the clinical pecking order of sexual perversion these folks harbor the greatest propensity for such behavior.

And when they’re released from prison after serving their sentences, authorities are mandated by law to notify the public in whatever community they’ve chosen to reside in.

This is typically done by holding a public notification meeting, where local police and state corrections officials go over the ground rules of that person’s post-prison supervision and present data about sex offenders in general.

These meetings are where public wrath manifests itself because no one wants a level three living in their neighborhood and meeting attendees are rarely shy about saying so.

That’s why the public wrath-o-meter needle veered into the red zone Monday when a level three guy living in Waterville cut off the GPS monitoring device from his ankle and went AWOL.

He was unaccounted for until Thursday, when he turned himself in to authorities.

In conjunction with the guy effectively arresting himself, the Minnesota Department of Corrections news release contained this instructive statistic: 97 percent of fugitive level three offenders are apprehended within 72 hours.

The department would do well to emphasize more of these types of statistics, if only to quell some of the fears and misconceptions out there when it comes to convicted sexual predators trying to re-assimilate into communities.

The following Department of Corrections data may be dry stuff, but it places some needed perspective on a reviled group of people:

n Contrary to popular belief, the majority of Minnesota level threes under mandated intensive post-prison supervision programs do not reoffend sexually.

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