Sex Offender Community Notification

Introduction to the Community Notification Act

Since 1991, all felony level sex offenders in Minnesota have been required to register their home address with local law enforcement in accordance with Minnesota statute 243.166. Additionally, the Minnesota Legislature passed a Community Notification Act in 1996, charging local law enforcement with the responsibility of informing the public about sex offenders living in their community. The legislature found that, "...if members of the public are provided adequate notice and information about a sex offender who has been or is about to be released from custody and who lives or will live in or near their neighborhood, the community can develop constructive plans to prepare themselves and their children for the offender's release."

Neither the registration nor the notification laws are retroactive, meaning any sex offender convicted before 1991 is not required to register their home address. Any sex offender released from prison before 1997 is not subject to community notification.

To search for Level III sex offenders in the State of Minnesota, see the Minnesota Department of Corrections Level 3 Predatory Offender Information website.

Facts about Sexual Violence in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Department of Corrections, over 90% of all convicted sex offenders knew their victims (according to victim interviews) prior to sexually assaulting them. Contrary to popular belief, most sex offenders do not assault strangers. They look like anyone else. They are our friends, family members, and community leaders. They are most often people we know and trust.

In Minnesota, the most common sex offense committed by those that have gone to prison is that of child molestation. The second most common is rape, followed by incest and then sexual offenses that fall into a category listed as "other"(prostitution, pornography, etc.).

Commonly Asked Questions

If this person is so dangerous, why are they being released from prison in the first place?

Minnesota is a state that has specific sentence lengths for specific crimes, known as determinate sentencing. When an offender is sentenced to prison by the judge, the length of required prison time had been previously established for that offense by the Guidelines Commission, and applies to anyone convicted of the same offense. Someone with no previous criminal offenses may have a shorter sentence than someone who has been in trouble before.

In Minnesota, people are released from prison after serving two-thirds of their sentence with the last third to be served at a workhouse, halfway house, etc. While out on work release, offenders are being monitored by probation officers. At some point, the offender will have served the sentence mandated by law and must be released from prison and/or probation. Once the sentence is finished, neither the Minneapolis Police Department, nor the courts have the authority to tell the offender where they can live or work.

Why is this offender being placed in my neighborhood?

Sex offenders are NOT placed in any neighborhoods in the City of Minneapolis. Once they are released from prison, they are free to live wherever they choose. Most offenders are released to the jurisdiction that originally gained conviction and is overseeing their probation. This jurisdiction cannot legally deny them residency. Offenders that want to move outside that jurisdiction must obtain permission prior to moving and may be denied residency.

More often than not, offenders chose to live where their family or friends reside, where they are close to work or have easy access to it, or where they can find affordable housing. No government institution, including the Minneapolis Police Department, Hennepin County Probation, Department of Corrections, or the courts are steering offenders as to where to live.

Who determines what offenders are subject to the Community Notification Act?

In Minnesota, 90 days prior to being released from prison, a sex offender is assigned a Re-offense Risk Level. This Risk Level is determined by the End of Confinement Review Committee (ECRC), a group of psychologists, criminal justice professionals, and victim advocates. The Risk Level assigned ultimately determines the scope of community notification.

A sex offender may be assigned a Risk Level of I, II, or III. An offender found to be a Risk Level I is considered the LEAST likely to re-offend and only local law enforcement and victims or witnesses are notified of the offenders release or relocation.

An offender found to be a Risk Level II is thought to pose a MODERATE risk of re-offense. In this case, local law enforcement, and victims or witnesses are notified of the offenders' release or relocation, as well as any agencies that may serve a population at risk of victimization that are located near the offenders' home. For example, if the offender victimized a child he or she had access to through a Day Care, the Minneapolis Police Department would notify all licensed Day Cares in the vicinity of the offenders' home. The same may be true for nursing homes, schools, etc.

An offender determined to be the MOST likely to re-offend is assigned a Risk Level III. In this case, local law enforcement, victims or witnesses, and any agencies that serve a population at risk of victimization may be notified, as well as the general public. Community Notification to the general public may take place in the form of a community meeting. People living within a three block radius of where the offender will be or is residing may receive notice of the community meeting via a flyer and/or by CityWatch, a telephone broadcast system designed to send residents a recorded message about an upcoming meeting.

At a Community Notification meeting, the public can expect to hear a presentation consisting of general facts about the Community Notification Law, statistics about sex offenders, and specific information about the sex offender moving into or already living in the community. The public will have an opportunity to ask a panel of criminal justice professionals questions, as well as be provided educational literature. The Minneapolis Police Department does everything it can to notify the community before an offender is released or relocates, however, this is not always possible.

In a case where an offender poses a severe risk to himself/herself and/or to the public, the Department of Corrections or a police department can petition to have an offender Civilly Committed, rather than releasing them into the general population.

Of the over 1,300 registered sex offenders in Minneapolis, the largest number of those (subject to Risk Level assignment) are Level I's. Level II sex offenders constitute the second largest number of offenders, with Level III's making up the smallest number.

What happens if a sex offender doesn't register his or her address?

People convicted of felony level sex offenses, as of 1991, are required to register their home addresses, as well as other identifying information, with local law enforcement agencies. Sex offenders must do this upon release from prison, upon moving to Minnesota, anytime they move within Minnesota, and for 10 years or whenever their probation/parole ends (whichever is greater). Some offenders are subject to lifetime registration and offenders who work or attend school in Minnesota, regardless of whether or not they live here, must register here as well.

Failing to register ones address is considered a felony, and carries with it a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year and 1 day in prison for a first offense. Subsequent registration violations carry additional prison time.

Personal Safety Tips

A key reason the Minnesota Legislature passed the Community Notification Act was to promote public safety. The Minneapolis Police Department believes an informed public is a safer public. Now that you are being provided information about Level III sex offenders, we ask that you use it wisely.

Use this information as a catalyst to talk with your family about sexual violence. Assure your children that they can talk with you about questions they have about good touch versus bad touch, what to do if a stranger approaches them or if someone they know acts inappropriately towards them. Remind your children basic safety rules: never talk to strangers or accept rides from people you don't know; watch out for common lures and tricks (a lost adult wanting directions, asking you to help look for a lost pet, offering you money, candy, toys in exchange for a favor, etc.). Teach them to use the buddy system and to listen to their instincts-if something doesn't feel or seem right, talk to you, a teacher, or another adult they trust.

For adults, keep your windows and doors locked whether you are home or not. Some break-ins happen even when you've just stepped outside to water your lawn or shovel snow. If you live in a security building, do not let in people that you do not know, even if you think you may appear impolite. Remember, if they are there for a legitimate visit, their host will let them in. Consider taking a personal safety class and scheduling a home security check, both of which are conducted free of charge by the Minneapolis Police Department. Consider joining your neighborhood block club. Neighbors that know each other are more likely to look out for one another. If no club exists, contact the Crime Prevention Specialist assigned to your neighborhood for more information about starting a block club, attending a personal safety workshop, or scheduling a home security check.

To search for Level III sex offenders in the State of Minnesota, see the Minnesota Department of Corrections Level 3 Predatory Offender Information website.

Community Resources Available

Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), Community Crime Prevention/SAFE: 
To find your Crime Prevention Specialist, see Crime Prevention Specialist Contacts (pdf)

Jamie Kieffer, MPD, Community Notification Coordinator: (612) 673-3932
MPD Sex Crimes Unit: (612) 673-3081
Minnesota Department of Corrections

Hennepin County Adult Field Supervision: 612-348-4062
Minneapolis Sexual Violence Center: 612-871-5100
Minnesota Crime Victim Services: 651-282-6256

Minnesota State Legislature:
Senate 651-296-0504
House 651-296-2146


Last updated Aug 20, 2018



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