MARINETTE — The Marinette County 980 Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the jury assembly room of the courthouse, 1926 Hall Ave.
The purpose of the 980 Committee is to find housing for a 980 violent sex offender who must be placed in Marinette County. The county received notice Feb. 10 that an offender (James Harris, 52) from the Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center in Mauston, Wis., will be released to Marinette County. That center houses “Chapter 980” offenders, which according to state statutes are labeled “Sexually Violent Person Commitments.”
Wisconsin Chapter 980, which took effect in 1994, allows civil commitment and treatment for certain sex offenders after they complete criminal sentences. For many years after Chapter 980 took effect, violent sex offenders have faced hurdles finding places to live. In 2017, Act 184 was adopted which required counties where the offenders were convicted to find suitable housing after they have completed their prison sentences.
The 980 committee last met May 27 and was still struggling to find a location. “We continue to search for a vendor who will enter into a lease with DHS (Department of Health Services),” County Administrator John Lefebvre said following that meeting.
If the county can't find housing, it could face monetary sanctions.
A public comment session will take place at the beginning of Wednesday's meeting. The committee will then move into closed session. It will return to open session to consider a report to be submitted to the Department of Health Services and the court for appropriate residential option for community placement.
Attending the meeting will be: Lefebvre; Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison; Sheriff Jerry Sauve; Health and Human Services Director Glenn Sartorelli; Land Information Director Tim Oestreich; Chad Poverski, corrections field supervisor — Unit 617 Marinette; and Michael Chase, supervised release contract specialist — DHS