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Park’s proximity to halfway house raises concerns

Published: Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 10:03 a.m. CST

DUBUQUE — A plan to build a park in eastern Iowa has raised concerns because the proposed site is across the street from a correctional center that houses sex offenders and people convicted of other crimes.

People on probation or state work release are housed in Dubuque at the center run by the First Judicial District Department of Correctional Services. The facility can house up to 62 men and 18 women, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Having a park near the facility could be problematic because state law prohibits sex offenders whose victims were minors from being within 300 feet of a park, school or child care facility, according to facility manager Wendy Lyons.

“There are certain people under our supervision we would not allow to go to a park, so that would make it challenging for us to deal with,” Lyons said.

The building is staffed around the clock and performs spot checks to verify residents’ whereabouts when they’re not at the facility, but residents aren’t constantly monitored, Lyons said.