What is community notification in the state’s sex offender registry?

Anyone accused of rape, sexual assault or any other type of sex crime in Wisconsin should feel empowered to learn about the different consequences associated with these offenses.

In many cases, a person convicted of a sex crime in Wisconsin must participate in the state’s sex offender registry program. This program includes a community notification system.

Community notification levels in the sex offender registry program

The Wisconsin Community Notification law outlines different scenarios in which officials provide details about a registry participant to other parties. Prior to any notification, representatives from multiple agencies meet to discuss the nature of the notification.

When the team believes a person poses a high risk to society, they recommend a level 3 notification. Level 3 notifications allow for broad communications, including via the media. On the other side of the spectrum, a level 1 notification involves communication to law enforcement agencies only. Level 2 notifications may provide some information to select groups or individual citizens.

Pre-release notifications

Prior to any sex crime defendant’s release from jail or prison, a community notification review occurs. Notifications may happen relating to cases involving persons identified as sexually violent or convicted of multiple sexual offenses.

Broad discretion allowed

The state’s law grants substantial discretion to the Departments of Health Services and Corrections in determining who or what entities receive notifications as well as what facts any notifications detail.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to offer people in Wisconsin an overview of when details about a registered sex offender may be shared with the general public, and what information may be included in those notifications.