Justice & Safety

Sex offender awaits second chance
Sex offender awaits second chance

Eric, 39, has been locked up for more than half his life. He finished his criminal sentence and was committed to the state as a sexually violent person in 2002. He has been confined more than twice as long as his original sentence and is now held for the future risk he poses, not for past crimes.

Inside the walls of Sand Ridge: ‘We have a huge challenge here’
Inside the walls of Sand Ridge: ‘We have a huge challenge here’

From the outside, Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center looks like a maximum security prison. Inside, more than 300 men live there, committed there by juries and judges throughout the state as “sexually violent persons.” The challenge, for staff, is to treat and reintegrate them into communities.

Photos: Inside Sand Ridge, where the sexually violent are treated
Photos: Inside Sand Ridge, where the sexually violent are treated

Center reporter Nora Hertel and Wisconsin Public Radio reporter Gilman Halsted were the first journalists since 2007 to tour Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, the Mauston facility that houses sex offenders who have been committed to the state.

Project: Rethinking Sex Offenders
Project: Rethinking Sex Offenders

Stories, photos, audio and data from a three-day series examining Wisconsin’s changing methods of dealing with sexually violent persons.

Wisconsin freeing more sex offenders from mental lockup
Wisconsin freeing more sex offenders from mental lockup

Wisconsin officials have nearly quadrupled the number of offenders released from state custody after they were committed as sexually violent persons. The risks to residents are reasonable, officials say, because the state’s treatment programs are working and new data suggest these offenders are less likely to reoffend than previously thought.

Begging his pardon: Scott Walker gets earful on Pizer case

Through Jan. 1, Gov. Scott Walker received at least 19 written communications from citizens regarding the effort of Cpl. Eric Pizer to obtain a pardon so he can pursue his goal of becoming a police officer. All of these communications, mostly emails, urged the governor to grant Pizer a pardon.

Sidebar: Cases raise concerns about informant testimony

Several Wisconsin cases from the The National Registry of Exonerations show how incentivized testimony can contribute to wrongful convictions. Each involves testimony from informants that was later proven false.

Sidebar: California case prompts policy reforms

Revelations from jailhouse informant Leslie Vernon White prompted a mass review of cases spanning an entire decade in which jailhouse testimony had been used to secure a criminal conviction. And it led Los Angeles County to adopt what one expert calls some “of the best jailhouse snitch protections in the country.”

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