The following is a list of frequently asked questions about the Supervised Release Program.
What qualifies an individual to be court ordered for community living on supervised release?
An individual committed to Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center under Wis. Stat. ch. 980 may petition their committing court for release every 12 months.
The court must appoint one or more professionals with experience evaluating the reoffense risk of sex offenders to examine the individual and write a report. These professionals have access to the individual and their health records to conduct the examination. If an examiner believes supervised release would be appropriate for the individual, the examiner must report on the type of treatment and services the individual may need while in the community on supervised release.
The individual must meet all of the following criteria to be court ordered for community living on supervised release:
- The individual is making significant progress in treatment and that progress can be sustained while on supervised release.
- It is substantially probable that the individual will not engage in an act of sexual violence while on supervised release.
- Treatment that meets the individual's needs and a qualified provider of the treatment are reasonably available.
- The individual can be reasonably expected to comply with treatment requirements and with all conditions or rules of supervised release imposed by the court or by the Department of Health Services.
- A reasonable level of resources are available in the community to meet the residential placement, supervision, and ongoing treatment needs required for the safe management of the individual while on supervised release.
In making its decision, the court may consider:
- The individual's sexual offense history.
- The individual's mental history and present mental condition.
- Where the individual will live.
- How the individual will be supported.
- What arrangements are available to ensure that the individual can access and will participate in necessary treatment.
How many individuals are living in the community on supervised release?
The number of people living in the community on supervised release is a small fraction of the population of convicted sex offenders in Wisconsin. As of January 4, 2021, 69 individuals are on supervised release.
Community living arrangements
Why is this individual being placed in my community?
As of March 30, 2018, individuals court ordered for supervised release must live in a community in their county of residence. An appropriate residence has been identified in your community. A court approved the individual's supervised release plan that included this residence.
How was the individual's residence selected?
As of March 30, 2018, individuals court ordered for community living on supervised release must live in their county of residence.
The individual’s county of residence assembles a committee to identify and report on an appropriate residence that can be leased by the Department of Health Services. The committee consists of:
- A representative of the county human services department.
- A representative of the Department of Health Services.
- A local probation or parole officer.
- County corporation counsel or their designee.
- A representative of the county that is responsible for land use planning or the county department that is responsible for land information.
The Department of Health Services uses the residence identified in the county committee report as the basis of the individual's supervised release plan. This plan is submitted to the court. If the court determines the plan meets the needs of the individuals, then the court orders the Department of Health Services to move the individual to the residence.
The Department of Health Services is responsible for locating an appropriate residence for some individuals court ordered before March 30, 2018, for community living on supervised release. In some of these cases, the court has requested the state to look at residences in specific counties or statewide. Therefore, in some of these cases, the individual may be placed in a home outside of their county of residence. Their placement is dependent on the state locating a residence and negotiating a lease with a landlord. The court must approve of the individual's supervised release plan before the individual moves into the residence.
How many individuals will live in the residence?
No more than two individuals on supervised release will live at the same time in any residence leased by the Department of Health Services. All placements must be approved by a court.
Are community members notified of the intent to place an individual in a residence near their home?
There is no requirement for neighbors of residences being considered to house individuals on supervised release to be notified prior to a court approving the individual's supervised release plan.
The county committee tasked with identifying a residence for the individual may engage local law enforcement in the residence search process to determine if the residence is appropriate. Local law enforcement may contact neighbors to make this determination.
Will I be notified before the individual moves into the residence?
Local law enforcement is responsible for notifying the community after the court approves the individual's supervised release plan. Community notification may be done in the form of flyers, door-to-door contact, a press release, and/or a community meeting.
Who owns the individual's residence?
All residences housing individuals on supervised release are owned by private parties. The Department of Health Services leases the properties for the period of time individuals on supervised release live there.
Who manages the individual in the community?
Each individual living in the community on supervised release has a Community Reintegration Team. This team includes:
- A Department of Health Services supervised release specialist
- The individual's Department of Corrections probation and parole agent
- A sex offender treatment provider
- The individual's case manager
This group oversees the individual's schedule and activities.
How are individuals on supervised release monitored?
Movements of individuals living in the community on supervised release are tracked by GPS by the Department of Corrections. Monitors working on behalf of the Supervised Release Program visit the individual's residence at scheduled and unscheduled times to check on their well-being and compliance with program rules.
What are the program rules individuals must follow?
Individuals living in the community on supervised release must follow more than 70 rules.
What is a day like for an individual living in the community on supervised release?
Individuals living in the community on supervised release participate in activities that aid in rehabilitation, assist in community reintegration, and provide for basic needs. Scheduled services and other activities ensure minimal down time for the individual.
Ongoing outpatient mental health treatment and meetings with their Department of Corrections agent are critical components of every individual’s weekly schedule. In addition, an individual’s weekly schedule may include a trip to the grocery store, shopping for other essential supplies, a visit to a laundromat (if the individual does not have a washer and dryer in their home), employment or volunteer activities, religious activities, and medical appointments. Some individuals may also participate in education activities.
Individuals are expected to keep an orderly residence. As such, individuals may spend portions of their week cleaning and organizing their inside living space. During the first year of supervised release, work on outside living space (lawn mowing and snow removal) can only be done with a monitor present.
Can the individual leave the residence?
An individual living in the community on supervised release is strictly monitored, with many restrictions on movement and activity, and for at least the first year, they are not allowed to leave the residence without a chaperone. This chaperone is present for the entire time the individual is outside of the residence. This chaperone is employed by an agency contracted by the Department of Corrections for clients under the first year of supervision. The same agency employs chaperones for individuals during their second year and beyond of supervised release as part of an agreement with the Department of Health Services. The extent to which chaperones escort individuals on outings after the first year is determined by the client's Community Reintegration Team. This decision is based on the individual's cooperation and success during their first year living in the community.
What type of activities are allowed outside of the residence?
All outings are approved by the individual's Community Reintegration Team. These outings may include:
- Volunteer activities.
- Religious activities.
- Exercise activities.
- Residence maintenance.
Are visitors allowed?
Certain people who pass a screening and are approved by the individual’s Community Reintegration Team can visit the individual in accordance with the Supervised Release Program's scheduling procedures. Visitors typically are not allowed during the first 30 days of community living. Visits are periodically reviewed by the Community Reintegration Team.
Who pays for the services provided?
The Department of Health Services is responsible for the care and treatment of individuals court ordered for community living on supervised release. Individuals with income are required to contribute to the costs of these services, including housing and daily living expenses. The cost to care for an individual living in the community on supervised release is less than the cost to care and treat an individual at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center.
How long do individuals stay in the program?
This varies. It is up to the individual to petition for discharge from supervised release. When a judge determines, based on the evidence presented, that the individual is no longer more likely than not to commit another sexual offense, they may be discharged from supervised release. When clients are discharged from the program, they move out of their supervised release residence and no longer receive the supports provided by the program.