Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $1,000,000)
The target population of this project consists of juvenile offenders who have been placed in juvenile correctional institutions (JCIs) in the state of Washington for committing sexual offenses. Several Wisconsin communities have crafted local ordinances that limit where a sex offender may reside, work, and attend community activities, and some have separate provisions outlining child safety zones, making sections of these communities uninhabitable for sex offenders and their families. Juvenile sex offenders are returning to these communities and Wisconsin's Department of Juvenile Corrections (DJC) needs to develop additional capacity to support effective community supervision and the components of a successful reentry in light of these governmental actions. This program design includes investments in additional public education on what these offenders need to succeed upon their return to the community, such as access to treatment, jobs, viable housing, and healthy community activities.
The Wisconsin DOC currently has specialists whose job it is to monitor, verify, and report adult sex offenders' compliance with Wisconsin State Statutes 301.45 and 301.46, the Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Law. At the present time, the juvenile system does not have the benefit of SORP specialists who are experts on juvenile sex offenders. DJC staff needs increased knowledge and skills to properly supervise juvenile sex offenders that are returning to restricted communities and this project will determine whether recent legislative changes and evolving public attitudes about juvenile sex offenders have created a new critical staffing need in Wisconsin and other state juvenile justice agencies. The goals of the Wisconsin DJC are to: 1) add to the skill set the necessary tools that DJC Agents, Field Supervisors, other Department staff and county staff need to supervise and case manage juvenile sex offenders in communities which have placement ordinances and/or child safety zone restrictions in place; 2) raise public awareness through education about the different types of juvenile sex offenders, treatment effectiveness, strategies of community supervision, and resources for an effective reintegration; 3) enhance services available to juvenile sex offenders transitioning from a juvenile correctional institution back into the community; and 4) enhance services and communication between juvenile sex offenders' families, DJC staff, community service providers, and schools to create a stronger, supportive network.