Tired of waiting for reform, sex offenders run for office

Back in the ’90s, the Minnesota Supreme Court struck down the law that allows the state to incarcerate people after they’ve served their prison sentences because they might offend again. The court said it was unconstitutional to place the burden on the men to prove they wouldn’t commit more crimes, shifting the burden to the state.

Ostensibly the men are in the Moose Lake facility for sex offenders for “treatment,” not punishment. But only two have been released over the last 20 years, a fact that more than suggests the court decision of the ’90s really didn’t change anything, and neither has the Legislature, which punted on the recommendations of a task force. A federal judge has sent the issue to trial.

So now it’s come to this, the Star Tribune reports today: The sex offenders are trying to get elected to office.

Inmates — whoops: “residents” — are holding drives to get registered to vote, with the goal that they’ll vote for their own in a town of just 2,700 people.

“People here are fed up with what isn’t happening and should be happening,” Kenny Daywitt, a sex offender who is running for Moose Lake City Council, tells the Strib. “They want big changes, and getting our people elected is one way to make that happen.”

Because that would scare the hell out of Moose Lake residents on the other side of the razor wire.

“I don’t think people here appreciate candidates with ulterior motives,” Doug Juntunen, a Carlton County Sheriff’s deputy candidate said. “And to me, the sex offenders clearly have an ulterior motive. They just want to be able to walk about [in Moose Lake] and aren’t looking out for the best interests of the city.”

Related: Moose Lake candidate talks about why he’s running (All Things Considered).