Waukesha’s ban on residence for sex offenders creates problems

Waukesha’s ban on residence for sex offenders creates problems

Earlier this month, a 70-year-old Oconomowoc man was released from prison after serving 17 years for sexual assault. The Department of Corrections (DOC) originally planned to place him in Waukesha because of its abundant supply of housing, transit services and access to social services. However, the new city ordinance has barred him from being placed here.

Because of this, the DOC fears he may have to spend his nights in Waukesha County Jail until other housing can be found. His parole appointments require him to check in periodically at the Waukesha parole office.

There are two other sex offenders scheduled for release later this month who will face the same difficulties because of Waukesha’s new ordinance. In all cases, it means more work for the DOC and more expense for taxpayers.

A spokeswoman at the Wisconsin DOC says: “We have an obligation to track them, and if we don’t know where they’re living, we can’t monitor them.”

She also points out that Waukesha’s not-in-my-backyard attitude will likely make it harder for these men to reform. She says that offenders are much less likely to reoffend when they are closely monitored and when they are in a stable living situation after their release from prison.

It is understandable that Waukesha residents might be fearful of having a convicted sex offender in their neighborhood. But released sex offenders have served their time, and yet they will be forced to spend their nights in jail even after their release from prison. Moreover, the city’s ordinance has created additional financial and personnel constraints on our already strained legal system.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel online, “New Waukesha ordinance blocks 3 sex offenders,” Laurel Walker, 04 May 2011