Friday, November 29, 2013

MN - Sex offenders can't read local newspapers

Original Article


By Dan Linehan

ST. PETER - Sex offenders in Minnesota can order and read any newspaper they choose, except for The Free Press, the St. Peter Herald and the Moose Lake Star Gazette.

The Minnesota Sex Offender Program banned local newspapers from their facilities in St. Peter and Moose Lake in 2007, and updated the policy in August to specifically name the forbidden papers, said Nancy Johnston, the program’s executive director.

An inmate in Moose Lake mailed The Free Press a copy of the media policy with a short letter complaining about it.

Johnston said the policy was put in place to protect staff members and their families. For example, an inmate could read about a staff member’s child becoming an Eagle Scout.

Local newspapers could also print maps that could aid an inmate’s escape attempt, Johnston said.

She said the policy was not put in place because of a specific event but was an attempt to reduce the risk of one occurring. The August update of the policy was likewise not in response to anything specific.

She said she’s not sure what the inmates think about the policy; she hasn't received any complaints about it.

Local newspapers are allowed in the state’s prison system, a Department of Corrections spokesperson said.