The special review board meets at least every six months and at the call of the commissioner. It hears and considers all petitions for a reduction in custody or to appeal a revocation of provisional discharge. A "reduction in custody" means transfer from a secure treatment facility, discharge, and provisional discharge. Patients may be transferred by the commissioner between secure treatment facilities without a special review board hearing.
As the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) has come under scrutiny, so too has the role of the special review board. Since its establishment, none of the clients of the MSOP have been fully discharged. The Program was investigated in 2011 by the Office of the Legislative Auditor, and has been the subject of a federal class action lawsuit filed by the sex offenders in the program in 2011.
2015 Minn. Laws Chap. 71 Art 2. Sec. 18 added the following requirement to the Special Review Board: "The special review board must review each denied petition under subdivision 5 for barriers and obstacles preventing the patient from progressing in treatment. Based on the cases before the board in the previous year, the special review board shall provide to the commissioner an annual summation of the barriers to treatment progress, and recommendations to achieve the common goal of making progress in treatment."