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Appellate Court Deems Minnesota Sex Offender Program Constitutional09:38

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This April 19, 2010 file photo shows the Moose Lake, Minn., facility for sex offenders that was likened by offenders housed there in a lawsuit to a second prison sentence rather than the treatment program is was designed to be. (Martiga Lohn/AP)closemore
This April 19, 2010 file photo shows the Moose Lake, Minn., facility for sex offenders that was likened by offenders housed there in a lawsuit to a second prison sentence rather than the treatment program is was designed to be. (Martiga Lohn/AP)

In Minnesota, sex offenders are often detained indefinitely, even following the end of their prison sentence, as a way to ensure public safety. Civil rights advocates have been fighting the current system for years, saying it's unfair to those who have served their time.

A federal judge declared the program unconstitutional in 2015, but on Tuesday this week, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, saying the program serves a "legitimate interest" for Minnesotans.

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Emily Piper, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, which oversees the sex-offender program.

This segment aired on January 6, 2017.

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