Podcast: On the indefinite commitment of ‘sexually violent persons’

Dianne Hendrickson and her son Eric, a sex offender confined to Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, inside the visiting area. The state committed Eric as a sexually violent person in 2002. The Hendricksons believe he has been denied discharge from the facility for rule infractions unrelated to the risk he poses to the community as a sex offender. Dianne Hendrickson is eager to see her son come home: “I have never prayed or wished for anything more than that.”

About this series
The Center’s Nora G. Hertel teamed up with Gilman Halsted of Wisconsin Public Radio on “Rethinking Sex Offenders,” a three-day series examining Wisconsin’s changing methods of dealing with sexually violent persons. Find stories, audio, photos and data at this page: Project: Rethinking Sex Offenders. Involuntary commitment for crimes not (yet) committed. The men of Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Center, known as “sexually violent persons,” have a strange in-between status. They are in treatment, learning to control their impulses so they can eventually be released. Continue Reading

Your Right to Know: OpenBook offers partial peek at state spending

Michael Buelow

In January, the state of Wisconsin launched a new websitewith a searchable database that lets the public see what state government spends on goods, services and other operating costs. OpenBook Wisconsin — openbook.wi.gov — debuted with more than 25 million records for expenses including real estate transactions, building projects, maintenance, office supplies, and rents. Records for state agencies, the Legislature and the courts date back to mid-2007. The site’s records for the University of Wisconsin System start in fiscal 2013. The site, which the state plans to update every two weeks, allows searches for each fiscal year by state agency, type of expenditure or vendor. Continue Reading

Wisconsin InfoLink April Hot topic: Wisconsin taxes

Besides knowing that paying taxes is a sure thing and the deadline this year is April 17, what else do you know about Wisconsin taxes? To offer a helpful start at learning more about Wisconsin taxes, income and otherwise, Wisconsin InfoLink has compiled a number of useful tax links that can shed some light on this certain fact of life. Continue Reading

Your voices: Testimonials about the Center

“Wanted: A few kind words.”

With that email subject line, we reached out in December 2013 to journalists, journalism educators and the public, asking: “Would you be willing to write a sentence or so about the value of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s work?” Continue Reading