Sex offenders detained under Wisconsin's Sexually Violent Persons Act will find it easier to get released under a bill drafted by a legislative study committee. But, the proposed changes to the SVP law will assure more offenders are supervised after they're released.
Under current law it's easier for offenders who've been civilly committed as sex predators to get discharged without supervision than it is for them to be granted supervised release. A proposed rewrite of the law is designed to fix that flaw. Lloyd Sinclair is in charge of assessing offenders for release from the Sandridge Secure Treatment Center. He says the change should enhance public safety.
"The more dangerous cases are the ones where they are simply discharged and there is no supervision or surveillance," he says. "They're free to live wherever they are and come and go as they please. What this will result in a shift to a lot more community protection because these people will be on supervised release. That's where they have the community notifications and the selection of where they're going to live and that sort of thing."
The changes to the law also raise the bar for offenders seeking discharge without monitoring. Under the new law they would have to show they've participated actively in their treatment . Anthony Rios represent offenders for the state Public Defender's Office.
"I think what we're doing at least in terms of discharge is making it more difficult for them to get through the door and have an evidentiary hearing either to the court or to a jury," he says.
The new law will not make it any easier for the state to find places for released sex predators to live as more municipalities pass ordinances effectively barring such offenders from living anywhere in their communities.