Contact: Rep. Sondy Pope
MADISON, Wis. – According to a memo recently published by the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the Department of Corrections (DOC) is missing nearly three-thousand sex offenders. Under current law, the DOC is required to maintain a sex offender registry. As of August 20, 2018, there are around 25,159 offenders on the registry, 6,205 of whom are currently incarcerated. Of the 18,954 remaining registrants, 2,735 are non-compliant – meaning the DOC does not know where they are. Representative Sondy Pope (D-Mt. Horeb), a member of the Assembly Committee on Corrections, requested the memo in response to a series of articles which questioned the effectiveness of Wisconsin’s sex offender registry.
“I find it outrageous and unacceptable that nearly three-thousand sex offenders are unaccounted for and that many of them live in communities without citizens’ knowledge. These unaccounted offenders present a clear danger to communities as many are likely to re-offend. This is yet another example of the deteriorating state of our corrections system under Governor Walker,” said Rep. Pope. “Thus far, he’s refused to visit Lincoln Hills, and my guess is that he’ll refuse to address this problem as well.”
A 2014 Fox 6 News article had reported a total of around 1,000 missing registrants at the time. In the four years since then, the number has nearly tripled. Inaction on this issue has allowed more families and communities to continue to be harmed by these offenders as many of them are placed in situations where they have a high likelihood to re-offend. An offender from Merrill, with a history of non-compliance, sexually assaulted a child as recently as last week.
“It’s extremely troubling to me to see that the number of missing offenders has tripled in the last four years,” Rep. Pope said. “While I’m glad the offender from Merrill has been apprehended, his latest offense could have been prevented. It is now obvious to me that keeping citizens safe from these individuals has not been a priority for Governor Walker. Perhaps now that he’s been made aware of the problem, he can keep an eye out for some of these missing offenders while flying home from his next haircut.”