Polk County, Or., District Attorney John Fisher has asked the county board of commissioners for permission to house recently released sex offenders in his home, says the Salem Statesman Journal. It is the latest twist in the county’s struggle to find housing for homeless sex offenders and other felons. Fisher ran unopposed for his second term last year. Fisher said he won’t go forward unless the board and local law enforcement officials sign off on the plan.
The relatively small number of offenders needing housing made private dwellings preferable to a publicly funded residence. “What we needed was a Polk County-type solution,” Fisher said. “We thought if we could find three or four people or families who could house these people on a short-term basis, everyone might think this is a good solution. But nobody was willing to step up.” Fisher, who is single, isn’t looking forward to opening his home to offenders but hoped it could move the county toward a long-term solution. He said he would accept nonpredatory offenders only. “Some means need to be found to transition these people back to society,” he said. “From a gut perspective, I’m probably less afraid than the general public of these people. Rightly or wrongly, they are seen as inhuman monsters, but mostly they’re pathetic human beings.”