Offender Reentry - The Battle for the victim's voice to be heard

To follow is an email I sent out this morning to the person I am working with at Rep. Ed Brooks office and also probation. 
Background - My abuser is to be released in August of this year on extended supervision after having served 8 years of initial confinement in the Wisconsin Prison System  - 
I live in a rural county and because of this there is 1 Temp Living Placement (TLP)...which happens to be 6 blks from my home.
I have been raising issue over this situation for well over a year -
My abuser was charged with 3 counts of 2nd degree sexual assault - battery - and 2 counts of causing mental harm to a child. Through a plea agreement he plead "no contest" and was found guilty of  1 count of 2nd degree sexual assault, and the battery - the remaining charges were read in to the record for the purpose of sentencing.
I am fighting for systemic change where legally victims will have the right for input during the offender reentry process.

The email
Hello -

First I would like to confirm that I did receive (name redacted) letter this week, including the policy on sex offenders residence upon of release. I did make a request for that policy when I spoke with (name redacted) at the April Juneau County CCR meeting which was two weeks ago. (Name redacted) explained to me that she is working on options for Timothy's placement for when he is released on extended supervision. She expressed hopes that she would have some answers in a couple of weeks. The letter dated May, 21, 2015 which I received on May 26, 2016 states that she will be able to confirm a residence plan hopefully by the second week of June.

I appreciate everyone's effort in this situation. I realize that the State of Wisconsin policies and laws do not provide for the voice of the victim during offender re-entry, at least to the degree I have raised concerns about.

Having said all of this - I would like to point to the experience as a victim in this situation. Receiving word/confirmation by the middle of June equates to approximately 6 weeks prior to his release. This is not a lot of time for a victim/survivor to prepare whatever it is they need to do. In my case if Tim is placed in close proximity to my residence and/or employment, I will need to act swiftly and without delay to make significant changes in my life, and my minor child's life. Considering my youngest son, (name redacted), will be entering his senior year at (school name and location redacted), I am not willing to pull him away from there. It is a charter school which has catered to his unique creative gifts and leadership abilities in a project based environment that would be near to impossible to duplicate in another school setting. (name redacted) has lived through enough trauma in his childhood, I will not add to more.

While not every victim/survivor situation is like mine where the TLP in the county is less than a mile from the victim's home, I do believe my situation places a spotlight on the dire need for there to be written into Wisconsin law and policies procedures in place to protect the victim of a violent crime during offender re-entry. Especially when the offender will be released to extended supervision, living and/or supervised on tax payers' dime.

I am often told that not every victim/survivor is as vocally assertive as I tend to be - again, if that is the case, then that too places a spotlight on the need for some positive and proactive systemic changes on a state level because I can guarantee the concerns I have are shared by many victims of violent crimes even if they are not expressed to the levels I have gone.

We know victims/survivors often suffer in silence due to fears of judgement from society or due to not reaching a point in their healing where they value their own self worth and safety - often the same hurdles that that keep domestic violence victims frozen in place, living in an abusive and dangerous situation. Isolation can plague a soul not ready for that degree of healing. It is up to society to lay foundation of safety for them to step out on. That is how cycles can be broken, and lives can be saved.

Just this morning I found a document from the State of Minnesota which encourages the victim's voice during the offender reentry process and subsequent placement. I have attached it to this email.

Thank you for listening.

Eva Marie Woywod



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