SALEM, Ore. – A county prosecutor has offered to open his own home to house newly released sex offenders until they can land jobs and places to live.
Polk County District Attorney John Fisher (search) asked officials for permission to let up to 15 sex offenders a year stay with him for no longer than 60 days each.
"It is my hope, if I did this first, we might find others would who would be willing to do it," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I wasn't able to see any other viable alternatives."
Finding housing for newly released sex offenders (search) has been a problem stretching back several years. They are allowed to live in transitional housing for up to 60 days, but then have to move to a place of their own.
Some find housing through friends, family or church groups, but others have nowhere to go.
Fisher said he isn't looking forward to opening his home to offenders, but hopes it could move the county toward a long-term solution.
"Some means need to be found to transition these people back to society," Fisher told the Statesman-Journal. "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."
Fisher, who is single, said he would pay for installing locks on some of the doors in his house and would accept only nonpredatory offenders.
He said he hadn't yet told relatives about his offer, but friends "have expressed concern."
County officials are to meet Friday to discuss the district attorney's idea.