From Shadow Prisons to Real Investment to Stop Sexual Violence

Right now, Minnesota is holding 745 people indefinitely in Shadow Prisons, officially called the “MN Sex Offender Program” -- imprisoned after having already served their prison time, or even without being convicted of a crime. 

Thirty states have no Shadow Prisons and have seen greater reductions in sexual violence, while Minnesota has already invested heavily in laws that increase supervision and punishment for sex crimes. 

Since 1994, Minnesota’s Shadow Prisons have been justified by providing constitutionally dubious “treatment” for those convicted of sex crimes. The results speak for themselves: 95 detainees dead and only 16 fully released, while the number of detainees continues to grow. No one was released until a 2015 lawsuit that briefly ruled the facilities unconstitutional. 

This “treatment” takes money that could otherwise go toward real solutions to reduce sexual violence. As taxpayers we pay $429/person, per day – $101.8 million for 2023 – for this “treatment” with total costs of over $1.6 billion since the program began. And while these prisons after prison are a death sentence for people of all backgrounds - 72% of whom are white and 62% from Greater Minnesota - Native, LGBTQ, and Black people are significantly overrepresented among these detainees. 

This scandal of a program is something we can no longer accept. Led by Overcoming Corruption Empowering All Nations (OCEAN), a detainee group inside the shadow prisons, loved ones are coming together across the state to end this program. We believe MN should become the 31st state with no Shadow Prisons. By changing our safety strategy and reinvesting this $100 million a year budget, we can go from the country’s worst Shadow Prisons to the best state for survivors, communities, and future generations.  


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Help us to get a bill to the legislature this year! Now is the time to come together to reallocate resources to effectively prevent & humanely respond to sexual violence.



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