Wisconsin Lawmakers Review Sex Predator Release Policies


A legislative committee is looking for ways to make it harder for sex predators to be released from the state’s Sandridge Secure Treatment Center.

Both judges and legislators are worried about the fact that it’s easier for a convicted pedophile to be released from the Sandridge facility without supervision than it is to be released with a strict supervision plan. Sandridge director Deborah McCulloch this week told members of a new legislative council committee there’s no requirement that sex predators show any progress in treatment to qualify for being discharged, “So only for supervised release there’s criteria that they’ve progressed significantly in treatment. So discharge can mean that the person has never participated in treatment. It simply means that they no longer meet the criteria that they’re more likely than not to commit future acts of sexual violence.”

Several members of the committee weren’t happy to hear McCulloch’s statistics on such releases. Seventy-three out of the 100 people discharged from Sandridge over the last decade received no supervision after their release. City of Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva says the dividing line between more likely and less likely to commit another crime puts the public a risk, “So the bottom line then is that no matter what you do you are acknowledging there is some even small level of risk in releasing a pedophile.”

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Sandridge psychologists say there is no cure for pedophilia, that much like alcoholism people who have the condition can only learn to control their urges and must be motivated to do so. The committee’s challenge is to find a constitutional way to change the law that will make it more likely than not that released sex offenders are kept under some kind of supervision.