Housing for Sexually Violent Offenders Moves Forward

On May 25, the Door County Board of Supervisors authorized the purchase and construction phase to proceed with modular housing at the Door County Justice Center for sexually violent offenders who have served time and been approved for supervised release back into their communities.

The site at 1201 S. Duluth Ave. has been engineered to allow for four modular homes, but at this time, only two will be constructed. 

The board has been working on providing the housing option since December 2020, and the site evaluation, site selection, project feasibility and design phases are substantially complete. The trailers will be well insulated and have high-efficiency HVAC systems. 

State law requires that counties provide a housing option for individuals who have served their prison terms and are eligible for supervised release. Individuals are required to return to their county of residence. Supervisor Ken Fisher asked whether it were the case that they were “building more than what we need and trying to make money off bringing sexual offenders into Door County.” Corporation Counsel Grant Thomas said that was not the case and that individuals had to be returned, by statute, to their county of residence. It’s not part of current legislation that counties can pay to have those individuals located somewhere else, Thomas said.

Housing will be needed for two Door County individuals soon, with as many as six individuals needing housing in the near future, Thomas said at a past board meeting.

Supervisor Bob Bultman said he felt sympathetic for someone trying to transition to a better life, and although he understood the location, he wondered about planting some trees to create a more pleasant space.

County Administrator Ken Pabich said trees may interfere with the security cameras that will monitor the location. The project still needs to go before the Sturgeon Bay Aesthetic Design and Site Plan Review Board, where landscaping may be discussed. 

Those on supervised release are generally under house arrest and can remain in placement for years, though it varies by person.

The project’s oversight is with the Door County Facilities and Parks Committee.