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Pawlenty wants longer sex offender sentences

ST. PAUL -- Governor Tim Pawlenty wants to double some sex offender sentences, the latest in a series of related moves over the years. Under the Republican governor's plan, a first-degree sex offender would receive a sentence of at least 25 years...

ST. PAUL -- Governor Tim Pawlenty wants to double some sex offender sentences, the latest in a series of related moves over the years.

Under the Republican governor's plan, a first-degree sex offender would receive a sentence of at least 25 years, compared to about 12 years now.

While he won legislative approval to give life sentences to some who are convicted of particularly heinous sex crimes, Pawlenty this morning said that did not go far enough.

The governor said his proposal today would not cost the state more than $5 million, and no increase in cost would come for years.

Pawlenty summed up his philosophy about sex offenders: "They need to be kept off the street for as long as possible."

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In the past, he has suggested the death penalty for some especially heinous crimes.

Today's proposal is the latest in a series of proposals from both parties to get tough on sex offenders, and longer sentences have been approved. The movement began after the death of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin in 2003 and the arrest of convicted sex offender Alfonso Rodriguez in the crime. Sjodin's body was found near Crookston, Minn.

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