After a Star Tribune story today reported that Minnesota sex offenders just received two dozen 50-inch flat-screen TVs in their Moose Lake facility common area, Gov. Tim Pawlenty spoke out, calling the decision "boneheaded." He ordered the TVs to be removed immediately. We'd hate to imagine sex offenders having more fun than we are out in the real world.
The sets cost $2,282 each, according to the Strib report. Pawlenty has ordered the facility to sell them.
The critics of the TV sets were actually the sex offenders themselves. Two complained to state legislators about the TVs, calling them a waste of money when most patients have small TVs in their own rooms. One inmate said the TVs are mainly used by the security guards.
"I am appalled by the fact that there are children in school now that probably don't have schoolbooks, and that bridges are falling down, and old people are going without medicine, and we're sitting here in this 'white horse' bolting these huge sports bar televisions onto the walls," said Rodger Robb II, a sex offender living in the new $45 million complex that opened in July.Pawlenty's comments today, from the Strib:
"We don't micromanage our agencies at the level of every little item that they purchase or use, but in this case we are going to micromanage it. I think it was a boneheaded decision for them to buy these flat-screen TVs at the Moose Lake facility. I'm asking my administration today to remove the televisions and to sell them," Pawlenty said outside the governor's mansion in St. Paul.
"If they need to have televisions in common areas they can have smaller simpler fewer or cheaper ones. They don't need 50-inch flat-screen plasma televisions for sex offenders. So, clearly somebody just made a boneheaded decision and I'm going to reverse it."