Bill proposes changing how sex offenders are released from Sand RidgeA proposed change in the guidelines for releasing sex offenders from the Sand Ridge Treatment Center would make it easier for social workers and therapists to keep track of offenders after they're released.
By: Gilman Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A proposed change in the guidelines for releasing sex offenders from the Sand Ridge Treatment Center would make it easier for social workers and therapists to keep track of offenders after they're released.
Under current law, it's easier for a sex offender who has been civilly committed to get discharged without supervision. LLoyd Sinclair, who directs programming at Sand Ridge, says offenders who have been committed because they are likely to commit new sex crimes often become eligible for discharge before they qualify for release with supervision.
The proposed change would allow judges to turn down discharge petitions in favor of supervised release. Sinclair says under supervision, the offender is still considered a safety threat and is constantly monitored by GPS satellite and can only leave his house with an escort.
“We always know where he is,” says Sinclair. “He has to seek permission for anybody to come and visit his home, and that sort of thing.”
Sinclair says that if a released offender seriously violates the rules, the Department of Health Services would petition for a revocation of the supervised release: “And usually when we petition for that revocation, that revocation is granted.“
If approved, the bill would also slightly expand the kinds of activities offenders can engage in while under supervision, allowing them to earn the right to attend school, take part in volunteer activities and take care of their lawns and gardens while still being monitored by an escort.