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Release of Wisconsin sex offender delayed after housing denied

State law in Wisconsin stipulates that any convicted sex offender, after serving a prison sentence, will be released to the county where the alleged sex offense occurred. In such cases, what often happens is that a member of the local community will agree to provide a place of lodging for the released individual. However, sometimes the contract between the community member and the Department of Corrections falls through, resulting in a postponement of the sex offender's release.

That scenario recently played out in a small Wisconsin town in the western part of the state. As part of a contract with the Department of Corrections, a local businessman bought a small farmhouse that would have provided guarded lodging for the released offender. According to the local sheriff, modifications were made to the home both to protect the released individual and prevent him from coming into contact with the types of people he was said to have victimized.

"There is a separate room downstairs for the wake staff," said the sheriff, "and one will be awake and one will be asleep at all times." The offender would also have to be monitored with a GPS device, have no Internet access and not be allowed to leave the residence or receive visitors without a third-party supervising.

But all of those possibilities have been postponed indefinitely now that the person who agreed to provide lodging for the offender no longer wants to contract with the Department of Corrections. Now the residence is not available, and the sex offender cannot be released at this point because there is nowhere to send him within the county.

The story underlines some of the potential consequences of a sex crimes conviction. The stigma of being found guilty of such a crime can follow the convicted individual for the rest of his or her life. Most people who are facing sex offense allegations never would have imagined their current situation was possible. Still, after a close look at the circumstances that led up to a criminal charge, mitigating factors are often revealed, resulting in a plea agreement or the dismissal of allegations.

Source: KARE 11, " Wisconsin sex offender's placement delayed indefinitely," John Croman, April 18, 2012

Source: KARE 11, "Wisconsin town prepares for sex offender release," John Croman, April 15, 2012

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