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Pawlenty plans to get tougher on sex offenders

"Sex offenders continue to be a scourge to public safety across this country and in Minnesota. In many cases they are individuals who we have a very a difficult time trying to remediate or change behaviors. They are individuals who in my view need to be taken off the streets and locked up for as long as possible."

So said Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty Tuesday, as he announced his proposal to more than double sentences for those convicted of first-degree sexual conduct. Sentences for such crimes are 12 years now; they would be at least 25 years under Pawlenty's plan.

The governor also noted the tougher sentencing guidelines would bring long-term savings, with prison costs being less than civil commitments to Minnesota's sex offender treatment program. That's only an added bonus, however. There should be no price on keeping our state's youths and adults alike safe from this type of crime.

How many times have we heard of someone being victimized by a sex offender, and then having another person victimized after the criminal is released? Alfonso Rodriguez, convicted in the Dru Sjodin kidnapping and murder, is just one example.

First-degree sex offenders should have to pay for their crimes for far longer than 12 years. After all, their victims have to live with them for the rest of their lives. -- Worthington Daily Globe