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Corrections officers make annual sex offender Halloween compliance checks

MADISON (WKOW) — Probation and parole agents in Dane County randomly checked in with 124 registered sex offenders to make sure they were following Halloween protocol and requirements.

“Parents just need to know the department is out,” said agent Jennifer Wieneke. “We’re out walking around, we’re out in various neighborhoods.”

Each year, teams of agents across the state visit homes of offenders currently under supervision. In 2018, there were 2,248 homes visited statewide.

The agents are on the lookout for several violations as they go from address to address. Those include having Halloween decorations or candy set out for trick or treaters. They’re also required to keep all their lights off, and remain home between the hours of 3 and 9 p.m. Plus, they can’t open the door for anyone.

“They are not allowed to participate,” said Wieneke.

If there’s a violation, Wieneke said they call one of their supervisors to discuss next steps. If they decide it’s a minor violation, they will request that the offender meet with their probation and parole agent first thing Friday morning to discuss it.

For more serious violations, they have a team that will come out and take the offender into custody. They’ll bring them to the Dane County Jail, and place them under a probation and parole hold while they investigate the incident.

“Agents are very well prepared when we’re in these types of circumstances,” said Wieneke.

Over the past few years, violations and the number of people taken into custody has stayed constant.

2018

  • 2,248 visits
  • 187 violations
  • 43 custodies

2017

  • 2,127 visits
  • 178 violations
  • 38 custodies

2016

  • 2,125 visits
  • 145 violations
  • 29 custodies

Wieneke said they generally comply because they tell offenders about the protocols well ahead of time.

“We work with our offenders and we try to do a good job of educating them,” she said. “I think they do a good job of following them.”

The department hopes that it is showing the community that it cares about safety with these checks.

“We take this really seriously,” said Wieneke. “We want to show the community that we care, that we’re out, that we’re monitoring people and making sure the offenders are following their requirements.”

Sara Maslar-Donar

Reporter, WKOW 27 News

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