The victim advocate in New Haven, Connecticut has a number of roles. The advocate supports supervision activities by accompanying probation officers on home and field visits, attending multi-disciplinary case review meetings, and leading the victim empathy component of treatment groups. The advocate furnishes information to and raises concerns with probation officers and treatment providers throughout the supervision process, and reviews background information from the probation files of each sex offender being supervised by the unit.
Conversely, it is also very powerful when a probation officer testifies regarding the multiple benefits of including a victim advocate on a sex offender supervision team. This requires that the supervision agency work closely with the treatment agency, the victim advocacy community, polygraph examiners, and, if possible, others involved with the management of sex offenders in the community e.
Small pieces of information taken alone have little significance. The ideal time to begin this evaluation process is during the development of pre-sentence investigation PSI reports. The primary purpose of these reports, which should be completed for all sex offenders prior to sentencing, is to provide information about a sex offender to the court to assist in the disposition of the case.
These reports should include: 11 The police record which details the instant offense : PSI writers should review thoroughly all charging documents that provide details about the crime. Whenever possible and if applicable, writers should also attempt to gain access to any police records detailing prior allegations of sexual abuse. Information gathered from the offender should include their marital status, employment history, financial history, medical background, military experience, and substance abuse history.
Securing this type of information allows the probation officer to discuss areas that are typically non-threatening to the offender and provides an opportunity to establish rapport before broaching the sexual aspects of the report. For example, interviewers should ask: "When did you begin touching your daughter inappropriately? These individuals can often provide important information about the offender that otherwise would not be known. Does the offender identify his sex offending behavior and express a desire to change? Since sex offenders rarely take total responsibility for their actions at the time of the pre-sentence report, the probation officer will be attempting to evaluate where offenders are in the process of accepting responsibility and their willingness to participate in specialized treatment.
It is not uncommon for child molesters to be prohibited from having any contact with children of any age at the beginning of their community supervision term, for example. Consideration should be given to this issue with offenders convicted of other sexual offenses. A victim impact statement : All jurisdictions should encourage the inclusion of a victim impact statement in the PSI, if the victim wants to provide such a statement. This statement should reflect the effects e.
Supervision agents should work with a victim advocate whenever possible to obtain information from a victim.
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Research indicates that reoffense risk is most accurately measured by sex offender specific actuarial risk assessment instruments. These instruments should be utilized rather than solely relying on the judgment or impressions of the pre-sentence investigator. Corresponding recommendations regarding incarceration or community supervision with special conditions : The recommendation section of the report should include a brief synthesis of the following factors: the probability of reoffense; recommendations regarding risk that were identified during the sex offender specific evaluation; factors gleaned from the investigation that tend to exacerbate risk e.
The PSI, therefore, should inform the sentencing decision and help set the framework for community supervision, when community supervision is deemed appropriate. Sex Offender Classification Probation and parole agencies have been using classification tools to differentiate sub-populations of criminal offenders who need different levels or types of supervision for many years.
In general, classification tools strive to distinguish offenders who pose differing levels of risk and who have different treatment needs.
As such, these tools are critically important to agencies in order to prioritize their limited resources. There is, however, no research or analysis that demonstrates the validity of classification tools unlike empirically validated tools that assess the probability of re-offense in sex offenders. Therefore, it is not known if classification tools accomplish precisely what they were created to do.
To do so assures that the tools are valid in distinguishing varying levels of risk and need among the offenders in a specific jurisdiction. Empirically-based instruments that have been statistically validated provide jurisdictions with reasonable and reliable sex offense risk prediction.
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In the absence of these tools, and in an environment in which decisions must be made regarding which offenders should be supervised more intensively, many agencies must use their collective experience to develop tools to help them make these classification decisions. Development and Maintenance of a Case Plan Case plans that guide the supervision of sex offenders are a key component of a comprehensive approach to sex offender supervision. In sex offense cases, it is extremely important to involve the offender in the case planning process in order to ensure that he is fully aware of, and accepts responsibility for, the terms of his supervision.
The supervision agent should also discuss with the offender any changes or adjustments that are made to the case plan. All plans should require the offender to sign and date the document, thereby indicating his acknowledgement of having reviewed and understood it, and indicate his willingness and commitment to abide by the conditions outlined in the plan. At a minimum, the case plan should include: biographical data e. Using relevant documents e. Current and complete information also fosters communication among other members of the supervision team and can serve as a foundation for the formal and informal case management discussions.
Key Elements of Community Supervision The experiences of probation and parole agencies across the nation indicate that sole reliance on commonly used supervision practices e. In order to address these challenges, it is imperative that convicted sex offenders receive, in addition to incarcerative sanctions where appropriate, a period of community supervision. Sex offenders must be monitored intensively during community supervision in order to evaluate their level of commitment to and compliance with all imposed special conditions.
Special Conditions Special conditions of supervision have been used to add restrictions to the general terms and conditions of supervision. Although many traditional methods of supervision such as field visits, collateral contacts, surveillance, drug and alcohol testing, and electronic monitoring are appropriate to utilize when supervising sex offenders, probation and parole conditions should also address their sex offense histories and individual patterns of offending.
Thus, sex offender specific conditions have emerged as one of the key tools in managing this particular population of offenders. In other words, a pedophile may not view programs whose primary character is a child. Offenders may not use pornography or erotica, and may not patronize adult bookstores, sex shops, topless bars, or massage parlors. Offenders may not go where children congregate, such as parks, playgrounds, and schools.
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Offenders may not possess a camera or videorecorder if they have photographed their victim s in the past. Treatment : Participation in and payment for evaluation and approved sex offender specific treatment covered by a signed contract.
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Driving and Travel : No unapproved driving after dark or when children are going to and from school except for employment; no connection with hitchhiking; and travel to another jurisdiction only with authorization and a letter signed by local authorities. Daily Living : Residence only in the supervising jurisdiction; no unapproved visits with family; and maintenance of established curfew hours. Work paid or volunteer : No such activity where contact with those under the age of 18 is likely. Polygraph, Plethysmograph, and Other Tests : Offender must agree to submit to polygraph, plethysmograph, 17 and other physiological tests as directed by the supervising officer.
Other Employment Restrictions : Offenders cannot hold a position that allows them to supervise women or children. Special supervision conditions, when ordered by the court or the supervision agent, are perhaps the most effective method of imposing external controls on sex offenders.
Supervision agents should continually assess whether the conditions assigned to sex offenders appropriately address their current patterns of behavior including social interactions and living conditions. For example, a supervision agent may discover during a conversation with a family member that a child molester who has abused strangers is routinely riding a bus to and from work that is also transporting children.
The agent might then develop and impose an additional condition that forbids the offender from riding public transportation that is likely to have children as passengers e. Specialized vs. Specialized officers should have extensive supervision experience; be trained in sex offender issues such as treatment, assessment and the polygraph; be knowledgeable about victimization; and have interest in and a commitment to working with this population.
Specialized officers must, therefore, be willing to play a different role in supervising sex offenders than other officers who are responsible for non-specialized caseloads.
The defendant will be supervised by the probation officer and will comply with the following Additional Conditions of probation until further order of the court Such offenders are being supervised while on probation, parole, or lifetime supervision. Charles Murray was sentenced to 95 months' imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography, and as part of that sentence was required to fulfill "various special conditions of supervised release that, for example, require d him to register as a sex offender and to submit.
Overall, both probation officers and therapists were quite positive about their working relationships; they valued each others' roles and agreed that regular, accurate, and timely communication occurred frequently.
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Not all relationships, however, were effective. Several probation officers and therapists expressed dissatisfaction with poor communication, conflicts between the goals of therapy and probation, a lack of resources, and deficits in the policies they needed to adequately implement components of their supervision model the containment model.
Our findings suggest ways to structure sexual offender supervision that integrate the distinct orientations of probation officers and therapists into a collaboration that promotes public safety and work well for all. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.
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