S.F. 2084 makes a number of changes to the laws addressing the Department of Corrections (DOC). Specifically, the bill addresses the DOC's challenge incarceration program, victim notification process, fugitive apprehension unit, and legislative reporting requirements.
Section 1 strikes language requiring the DOC to report certain specified information. In 2009, the Legislature mandated a performance targets report due by August 31 of each odd-numbered year. This mandate was the result of the DOC changing some of its performance measures that year. Because all of the performance measures required by this report are included in the department’s biennial January performance report, and those measures have remained constant since 2009, the August report has become redundant. This section repeals the August report requirement.
The report cost the department approximately $8,000 to produce. However, since no money was appropriated for the report, there is no expected savings. Staff time will simply be devoted to other reports critical to the agency’s mission.
Sections 2 and 9 authorize the DOC's fugitive apprehension unit to apply for search warrants. Under current law, the fugitive apprehension unit has the authority to make statewide arrests under Minnesota Statutes, sections 629.30 and 629.34 of escapees and release violators but must contact other law enforcement agencies to apply for search warrants on their behalf.
Sections 3 and 4 amend the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP) law.
CIP is a boot camp program mandated by the 1992 Legislature. Phase One of the program is located at MCF-Willow River for men and MCF-Togo for women.
Prior to 2009, the commissioner had discretion to select eligible offenders to participate in the program. Concerned that the program was not being operated at capacity, the 2009 Legislature rescinded this discretion and required the commissioner to offer places in the program to offenders unless they were explicitly ruled ineligible by statute.
These sections restore the commissioner's discretionary authority to select eligible participants for the program. The commissioner is required to strive to select sufficient numbers of eligible offenders to ensure that the program operates as close to capacity as possible and must include information on how close to capacity the program is operating in the DOC’s performance reports.
Sections 5 to 8 permit victim notification regarding offenders by the DOC's web-based victim notification system.
The DOC's Restorative Justice/Victim Assistance Unit has created a Web-based system for victims to access up-to-date information about offenders. The system allows victims to:
search for offender information;
request to be notified of offender’s custody status, including release, transfer, escape, apprehension, or death;
access resource information regarding restitution, reparations, and safety planning;
request information about victim-initiated restorative justice opportunities, such as apology letters and victim-offender dialogue options; and
inquire about education and training.
Sections 5 and 6 include the Web-based system in the victim notification requirements of the civil commitment and release of persons who are mentally ill and dangerous, sexual psychopaths, and sexually dangerous persons.
Sections 7 and 8 include the Web-based system in the victim notification requirements of the criminal commitment and release of offenders committed to the Commissioner of Corrections.
These sections do not eliminate the current system of written notification.