Additionally, the organization promotes legislative issues relative to sexual abuse. MSOTA is guided by a set of ethical principles that each member is required to follow. In , a major effort was undertaken to disseminate evaluation standards of care for the treatment of sex offender to professionals throughout the state of Montana who work directly with sexual abuse related matters. Since that time, the standards have been updated and disseminated as changes have been made.
MSOTA was one of the first state organizations of its kind. Other states have followed its lead in establishing their own state chapters. ATSA is the international association for the treatment of sexual abusers. All MSOTA clinical members must be licensed within their respective disciplines to perform mental health services in the state of Montana. The association meets regularly, with meetings held throughout the state. We ask that you take just a few moments to learn about our mission and what we want to achieve for our great state.
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. 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.
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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. In Maricopa County, Arizona, the Adult Probation Department has teamed probation officers with sex offender surveillance officers. The surveillance officers work full-time in the community and are assigned flexible and rotating shifts, allowing officers to be in the community seven days a week and 24 hours a day.
Engaging Others to Assist in the Supervision of Sex Offenders in the Community Another method that has proven to be especially promising in managing sex offenders is the use of a case management team, or groups of individuals who can augment the management provided by a supervision officer. In the limited amount of time associated with such meetings, sex offenders may attempt to portray themselves, their behavior, and their compliance with supervision conditions in the best light possible. In Vermont, in addition to creating support networks of family, friends, AA sponsors, and others, the Department of Corrections trains volunteers to work with sex offenders in the community.
A positive support system has been found to be an important factor in reducing recidivism in Vermont.
Spokane, Washington is well known for community policing efforts, and has established a network of community volunteer sites across the city. Trained volunteers serve as sources of information about sex offender movement, changes in residence and behavior, or any other factors that might suggest a heightened risk to the community. Where utilized, the case management team typically consists of a supervision agent, treatment provider, and polygraph examiner. However, variations of these teams exist in communities around the nation.
While there is no method of supervision that guarantees a sex offender will not re-offend, jurisdictions that employ the case management team approach have demonstrated that many sex offenders can be monitored safely in the community. Open information sharing and consultation among the various agencies charged with the management of sex offenders, proactive and intensive community monitoring, and ongoing, offense-specific treatment can equip some sex offenders with the necessary skills to interrupt their sex offense cycle and control their sexually abusive behaviors.
Sex Offender Specific Treatment Sex offender specific treatment is another critical component of a comprehensive approach to sex offender management. Appropriate treatment can assist sex offenders to learn control over their sexually abusive behavior.
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The most effective sex offender treatment programs assist in preventing victimization because they require offenders to acknowledge their crimes and the harm that they have caused their victims, and to participate actively in the treatment process. Successful participation in and completion of sex offense specific treatment is a very common condition of probation and parole supervision.
Effective sex offender treatment is markedly different from traditional mental health counseling or psychotherapy. Sex offender treatment providers must, therefore, be willing to work beyond the confines of the traditional psychotherapy model, understand the unique treatment needs of sex offenders, and develop therapy programs accordingly. In many jurisdictions, supervision agents are encouraged to attend treatment groups periodically to learn more about the offender and to reinforce the close working relationship between supervision staff and sex offender treatment providers.
In some jurisdictions, supervision agents co-facilitate treatment groups with therapists. The Use of Physiological and Monitoring Tools in Sex Offender Management The Polygraph The polygraph, a technology that is effective in detecting deception, is being used increasingly as a mechanism to assist in managing sex offenders. In many jurisdictions, the polygraph examiner is a key part of the case management team. Results of a national survey of probation and parole agencies on sex offender management indicated that 11 percent of probation and parole offices surveyed used the polygraph as a monitoring tool.
Since January , Colorado has required the use of the polygraph in treatment and monitoring of all sex offenders who are serving community sentences. On July 1, , Wisconsin removed statutory barriers to the use of the polygraph with sex offenders. This examination is typically administered after an offender has been in treatment from three to six months. Specific Issue Examination : This examination evaluates a specific behavior or allegation during supervision.
It is also used when an offender is either in complete denial or maintains that he did not commit the crime of conviction in particular, offenders who were sentenced under an Alford Plea 31 or offenders who continue to minimize their responsibility for the abuse despite their conviction.
Maintenance or monitoring examinations are administered on a periodic basis, usually every six months. In most cases, offenders are not tested more than three times per year. When a supervising agent or a treatment provider identifies a polygraph examiner with whom to work, he or she should inquire about the training that the examiner has received and, more specifically, if the training has been endorsed by the American Polygraph Association APA.
The penile plethysmograph is considered to be one of the more invasive techniques used in the field of sex offender management. None the less, deviant sexual arousal is a significant contributing factor in sex offending research indicates that deviant sexual arousal is positively correlated with re-offense 35 , and the self-report of offenders regarding their sexual arousal often is not reliable. The jurisdictions that have found these technologies to be most helpful use them in a manner that addresses specific sex offender risk factors. In addition, it may not be the best use of limited resources to electronically monitor an offender who is surrounded and supervised closely by a group of supportive adults e.
In such instances, the resources associated with using these technologies should be applied to offenders who have past histories of substance abuse or have not shown the ability or willingness to abide by court-imposed curfews and other restrictions on movement. Family Reunification Family reunification, the process by which a convicted sex offender is allowed to return to live in his home with his victims or alleged victims, is an especially controversial issue.
Although the stakes involved in returning a known sex offender to a home in which he could again offend are extremely high, many sex offenders, including incest offenders, will seek to be reunified with their families. The most prudent family reunification policies ensure that a known child molester, in particular, is initially separated from all children and is required to engage in ongoing and specialized sex offender treatment before any efforts to reunify the offender with his family are initiated.
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Community supervision agents are essential to the family reunification process: Officers are empowered to enforce what the therapist recommends, but at the same time probation officers who are trained to ask the right questions can demand accountability from those family therapists who want to reunify prematurely. The teamwork between therapist and probation in a reunification case can make the difference between mere survival for victims or emotional health, recovery, and growth. Well-designed guidelines for family reunification should be a part of sex offender supervision.
Since the offender is generally a person who is a parent, family member, or friend of the victim, it is imperative to realize that some victims may not oppose reunification. This can happen for many reasons, including that the victim may care for the offender, or might be frightened that they may alienate a non-offending parent or other family member by objecting to reunification.
Some jurisdictions, including Maricopa County, Arizona, have established family reunification policies in an attempt to ensure the safety and well being of the family members with whom the offender will be residing. Reunification should be a gradual process that is planned and monitored carefully-by community supervision staff, treatment providers, victim advocates and therapists, polygraphers, and the families of the offenders and victims-in order to avoid further traumatization of the victim and other family members.
Sex Offender Supervision Legislation Lifetime Supervision Lifetime supervision is another form of sex offender supervision that has been implemented in a number of states. Lifetime supervision provides for ongoing community supervision of offenders convicted of certain sex crimes throughout the course of their life. The rationale for lifetime supervision is based on several assumptions, including: sex offending can be a life-long, chronic pattern of abusive behavior; sex offenders often can control sex offending behavior, but do not always voluntarily choose to; lengthy probation or parole terms allow supervising officers to respond diligently to offender risks and needs; and it is wiser to decrease probation terms as offenders progress than to lack the ability to increase them when more supervision and surveillance is necessary.
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Proponents of lifetime supervision assert that sex offending is multi-generational in nature and that future victimization may be avoided through ongoing and extended surveillance and treatment. Such close supervision and surveillance may also improve supervision officers' ability to prevent or detect changes in offenders' behavior patterns, crossover to other types of sex offending, lifestyle changes, or a shift to a new victim group.
This approach can guarantee that a knowledgeable community corrections agent will be given a forum in which he or she can dispense sound information about offenders, their patterns of sex offending behavior, and how community members can best protect themselves against victimization. Some jurisdictions are also using community notification as an opportunity to involve victim advocates in the process of community education about sex offenders.
While probation or law enforcement officers can dispense information to community members about notification laws, known offenders living in their neighborhood, patterns of sex offending behavior, and whom to contact if they notice suspicious behavior, advocates offer the community a wealth of experience in prevention education. They can also assist justice system officials in addressing resident concerns, while helping to allay fears and reduce the possibility of vigilantism against offenders.
Developmentally disabled sex offenders pose many of the same challenges to supervision agencies as other adult sex offenders.
These principles are: Sex offenders with developmental disabilities pose as clear a threat to public safety as sex offenders without developmental disabilities. There is nothing inherent in the presence of developmental disabilities that causes sexual offending. Sex offenders with developmental disabilities shall be offered treatment that is appropriate to their developmental capacity, their level of comprehension, and their ability to integrate treatment material and progress.
In all of these sites, probation officers must grapple with jurisdictional issues among tribal, state, and federal entities. In addition, tribal codes may call for relatively short periods of supervision.
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These factors, coupled with the lack of staff and financial resources necessary to supervise sex offenders adequately, present unique challenges to tribal jurisdictions. These entities work together on an ongoing basis in order to ensure that they are capitalizing on their resources in the most effective way possible and avoiding duplication of their efforts.
The Yankton-Sioux Tribe in South Dakota convenes a monthly multi-disciplinary team meeting, during which individuals from Tribal Probation, Tribal Schools, the Tribal Council, local child advocacy organizations, the U. Representatives from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Tribal Court, Indian Health Services, the FBI, the Criminal Investigators, and others participate in these meetings, used mainly as a venue to discuss their sex offender cases and explore solutions to their common problems.
Tribal jurisdictions around the country have sought to mitigate these problems by maintaining ongoing collaboration with the various disciplines involved in the management of sex offenders in their communities. Conclusion Many jurisdictions around the nation have embraced the concept that supervising sex offenders in the community effectively requires a highly specialized approach to community supervision. Although there are individual variations in each community, the most promising approaches share several key elements, including: thorough pre-sentence investigation reports PSI ; complete offender assessments; the use of empirically validated risk tools where possible; the establishment of case management teams; highly trained and specialized officers; the use of sex offender specific conditions of supervision; mandated sex offender specific treatment; the use of the polygraph; and individualized case plans.
Such approaches also focus primarily on the safety and needs of victims and the community and require that a wide array of individuals and agencies work together to solve the problem of preventing further victimization. A Note to Readers The Center for Sex Offender Management is interested in learning more about sex offender supervision and treatment programs in jurisdictions around the country.
We would be pleased to hear from your community. For further information about the practices of any of the jurisdictions contained within this document, please contact CSOM. Edited by Madeline M. The Center for Sex Offender Management would like to thank Georgia Cumming for her significant contributions to this document. Supervision of the Sex Offender. Juvenile and female sex offenders pose somewhat different management challenges. For more information regarding juvenile sex offenders, see: Center for Sex Offender Management Silver Spring, MD. Sexual Abuse in America: Epidemic of the 21st Century.
For more information about these sites, see Center for Sex Offender Management National Victim Assistance Academy Text.