Sex Offender Registry FAQ
Courtesy of WDOC
Sex Offender Registration Specialists for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, conduct many presentations at community meetings, whether it is a Block Watch or a meeting put together by Law Enforcement. Our goal is to reach as many people as possible but we realize that there are many reasons some in the neighborhoods aren’t able to attend. So, in a collaborative effort with community leaders from the City of Milwaukee, we created a basic frequently asked question guide for the neighborhoods. On the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Sex Offender Registry Website (http://doc.wi.gov ) , you will find a more detailed FAQ section. Our goal in doing this is to reach those we have talked to before as a reminder, but to also reach those we haven’t. We want you to be aware of the Sex Offender Registry and the information it provides. More importantly, to let you know what you can do to help others in the community and the WI Sex Offender Registry.
Q: How do we contact the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry?
- Website address: http://doc.wi.gov
- Phone: (877)234-0085 or (608)240-5830
- Email: email@example.com also found on the lower portion of the website Welcome page
Select the “Find a Sex Offender” option on the left-hand sice of the website. It will guide you through a series of option, including how you find any particular adult registrant.
Q: Who determines whether a sex offender is a Level 1, 2 or 3 community notification and what criteria are used?
Law enforcement makes the final decision on the level of notification. This decision is made after meeting with sex offender registry specialists, probation/ parole agents and any other key people involved in the release. The criteria considered includes: risk to the community, needs of the victim(s), needs of the community and the rehabilitative needs of the registrant. This is not all inclusive, but they are some of the key components.
- What do the levels mean?
- Level 1: Police District notification- law enforcement is aware of the registrant, this is done to protect the victim(s).
- Level 2: Targeted Notification- if the registrant targets of specific types of victims, the notification may just go to the schools, daycares, senior centers etc.
- Level 3: Widespread Community Notification: Options utilized might include releasing informational flyers to the community, TV/media notices, or holding a Community Notification Meeting.
Q: Why are you telling me about this registrant and not all others on probation or being released from prison?
- On the Sex Offender Registry Website, you are able to have access on all registrants convicted as adults. However, special notice is given by law enforcement to certain registrants. This is based on current and/ or prior convictions of sexual assault. A meeting is held with law enforcement when these registrants are being released from prison to discuss the details. As previously noted, law enforcement will decide how that information is released to the public at the time of the registrants release.
Q: If this registrant requires notification by law enforcement, why is he/she being released back into the community?
- Either their sentence has expired or their risk to the community has been sufficiently reduced.
Q: Are there juvenile registrants?
- Yes, that information, however, is not released to the public unless law enforcement determines otherwise.
Q: Why is the registrant living near a park, school, day care center, bus stop etc?
- By design , parks, schools and day care centers are located conveniently throughout every community in the state. One of the goals of the Department of Corrections is a successful re-integration of the registrant back into the community. Studies show that community safety, family support, employment and a stable residence are some of the most important factors in deciding on a residence to live at. A residence plan that addresses these factors can help foster positive change in the registrant. Therefore, the residence the registrant may be residing in may be the most appropriate at the time.
Q: Should citizens follow or watch the registrant at all times?
- No, it is against the law to misuse the information from the Sex Offender Registry for personal, unlawful or vigilante purposes. Harassment by citizens is dangerous and could be detrimental to the successful re-integration of the registrant, however, awareness is important. We would like to keep the law and feel that the ability to let you know their current address is important. If harassment occurs, this could lead to a loss of the law. If you see anything out of the ordinary or questionable, contact the police department or the Sex Offender Registry.
Q: What happens when the registrant is off Probation/ Parole?
- The registrant is a free citizen and has the same rights as you or I do. However, he/ she must continue to comply with all applicable sex offender registration requirements which means they have 10 days to report changes in the following: residence, internet identifiers, employment, volunteer and school information. They must provide correct and verifiable information directly to the Sex Offender Registry.
Q: When on the website, under Custody/ Supervision status what does active community supervision, terminated, under DHS supervision and incarcerated mean?
- Active Supervision: The registrant is on probation, parole or extended supervision with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. The Agent’s contact information can be found on the registrant’s page on the website.
- Terminated: The registrant is not on any supervision with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Any issue with terminated registrants can be reported to the Sex Offender Registry or the police department.
- Under DHS Supervision: The registrant is supervised by the Department of Health Services.
- Incarcerated: The registrant is confined in a Wisconsin State Prison.
Q: What should parents tell their children about sex offenders?
- We term this Protective Behaviors. Avoid scary details, just tell children this person has hurt someone before and the child should stay away from this individual.
o Don’t accept a ride from the registrant
o Don’t go into the yard or home of the registrant
o Tell your parents if this person offers you toys, money or gifts
o Try to use the buddy system when children play outdoors
o If you’re lost in a store find someone with a store ID or badge.
o It’s ok to call 911 if your parents or a trusted adult isn’t home and he approaches you
o Put safeguards on the computer/ internet use
- Talk with your children on a daily basis, be involved in their lives. Keeping that communication going is key. It lets them know there isn’t anything so bad they can’t talk about it with someone they trust.
What can you do to assist the Sex Offender Registry (SORP)?
- If you notice anything out of the ordinary, you can utilize any of the previously listed contacts to provide information, contact your local law enforcement or Block Watch captain and request they send the information to WI SORP and it will be followed up on. If you would like to give us your name and number that is great, but if you want to remain anonymous that is completely okay to do as well.
Things to remember:
Remember, to always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your lines of communication open with your family, friends and neighbors. Almost 90% of all sex crimes are committed by someone known to the victim; family members or acquaintances commit many of those incidents. You know who the people are on the Sex Offender Registry, but also be aware of those who aren’t. Many assaults go unreported, or so not result in charges or convictions. Also, just because a sex offender has relocated does not mean he/ she gave up friendships and business relations in the former community. Citizens should follow safety measures at all times, not just when a registrant moves into the community.