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HOUSING FOR SEXUAL OFFENDERS NEARING COMPLETION

Two homes are nearing completion at the Door County Justice Center for the use of sexually violent people who are on supervised release from prison. 

State law requires that counties provide a housing option for such individuals, and with two arriving – one by mid-April, another by mid-May – Door County began moving forward with the housing project in early 2021.

In the near future, the county will be responsible for placing a total of six individuals, but the site was designed to accommodate up to only four single-wide units. Those on supervised release are generally under house arrest and could remain in placement for years, though the term varies by the person.

The court-approved placement plans must, by statute, meet the treatment needs of the individual as well as the safety needs of the community, which restrict where the person is allowed to live: not within 1,500 feet of a school, child care facility, public park, place of worship or youth center, according to the statute. If the person committed a sexually violent offense against an adult or elder adult at risk, the list is extended to nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. If the person is a child sex offender, the list is extended to any property where a child’s primary residence exists. 

The restrictions have always created placement challenges, but a change in legislation in March 2018 required offenders to be returned to the county that issued the judgment of conviction. Prior to that, they could be placed anywhere within the state.

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