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Pawlenty wants prisons to grow

ST. PAUL - Gov.

ST. PAUL - Gov. Tim Pawlenty says tougher sentences are not the end of his battle with sex offenders.

He plans to push for prison expansion to provide space to house the additional sex offenders that will be in prison due to longer sentences.

However, his administration has not decided how much prison expansion it will seek in the 2006 Legislature.

It appears inmate population is lower than had been expected.

The governor hints that other spending on sex offenders may be needed, but he refused to say where the money would go.


"There is always more to do on a whole variety of fronts," Pawlenty said.

In the past, the governor has promoted better tracking of sex offenders, including using devices that would allow authorities to know offenders' precise locations at all times.

Pawlenty said state and federal law enforcement officers have tracked down all but a few of the most dangerous offenders. Some of them earlier had not reported in to authorities as the law requires, and the state lost track of them.

Only a handful of offenders who have left the country remain unaccounted for, Pawlenty said.

Also on Thursday, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission, in adopting new sentences for sex crimes, determined that possessing or selling child pornography should be punished more severely than earlier proposed.

The commission approved longer sentences for child pornography crimes after hearing testimony last week.

Distributing child pornography would carry a minimum sentence of 2 years in prison, ranging up to 11 years and 8 months for repeat offenders and sexual predators.

The Associated Press contributed to this story Readers can reach Forum reporter Don Davis at (651) 290-0707

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