10/23/17 – State Representative Mark Born says he was surprised Governor Scott Walker deleted wording prior to signing the budget that would have targeted violent sex offenders. It would have refined placement guidelines while giving local authorities more control. Several years ago, a 1500-hundred-foot rule was successfully introduced by Born that restricts Chapter 980 offender’s placement near areas where children gather while trying to keep them within county of origin. Born says that made it difficult to find successful housing options by a reasonable date, so a change needed to be made. He says the goal of the original bill was to keep offenders close to their home county, but so far it has not been working. Through discussions with the Department of Health and the State Public Defenders Office, the approach focused on local decision making and open dialogue with local officials. The Beaver Dam Republican says the responsibility should be shifted to those on the county-level to come up with a plan that works best for their community, rather than setting a state-wide benchmark. Dodge County had two violent sex offenders awaiting housing long after their scheduled release date. Jonathan Miller was approved for supervised release at a residence in Shawano County earlier this month, Robert Larson Jr. is still being held at Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston. Last Friday on WBEV’s Community Comment, Born says the supervised released stage of their treatment was at the center of their discussions. He says if the state cannot find placement once their treatment is completed there is no constitutional right to continue to hold them and they will be released without supervision. A new bill is working its way through the legislative process and Born says he will decide if he is going to co-sponsor it after he meets with Governor Walker in the next few weeks to discuss the matter.
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