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The California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Releases Its January Recommendations Report

January 2010:

The California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Releases Recommendations Report:

Key Recommendations:

The California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) was created to provide the Governor and the State Legislature as well as relevant state and local agencies with an assessment of current sex offender management practices and recommended areas of improvement.

The work of the CASOMB has been divided into several significant committee focus areas. Provided below are the key summary recommendations of each committee. More substantive discussion, data and additional recommendations are located in the body of the report itself.

Re-entry, Supervision and Housing
• In order to mitigate the potential public safety risk of increased offender transience, California should target the use of residence restrictions utilizing a hybrid model of restrictions similar to a 2009 Iowa law:

• Residence restrictions should apply to the most serious offenders (SVP, repeat sex offenders, and offenders convicted of violent sex offenses) who have committed an offense against a child.

• Loitering restrictions should apply to designated Penal Code Section 290 registrants in places where children congregate (child safe zones)

• California cities and counties should not pass sex offender residence restriction ordinances that are in conflict with or exceed state law.

• GPS monitoring should only be utilized in conjunction with some form of community supervision, with the understanding that some high-risk offenders may need to be subject to extended supervision (including lifetime supervision for exceptionally high-risk offenders).

• To ensure effective treatment, CASOMB should be provided resources to develop written policies and standards which should be implemented at the State level for programming for sexual offenders. Separate standards are needed for adult, developmentally disabled and juvenile sex offenders.

• Risk level-appropriate and evidence-based sex offender specific treatment should be routinely required for all adult and juvenile sex offenders under supervision in California.

Registration and Notification
• California should concentrate state resources on more closely monitoring highand-moderate risk sex offenders. A sex offender’s risk of re-offense should be one factor in determining the length of time the person must register as a sex offender and whether to post the offender on the Internet; other factors that should determine duration of registration and Internet posting include whether the sex offense was violent, was against a child, involved sexual or violent recidivism, and whether the person was civilly committed as a sexually violent predator.

• Law enforcement should allocate resources to enforce registration law, actively pursue violations, maximize resources and results by devoting more attention to higher-risk offenders.

For the remainder of this report: by The California Sex Offender Management Board

Key Points:

Following is an enumeration of some areas where the CASOMB believes that the availability of accurate information would support better policy decision making. This list is not intended to be exhaustive. The order and numbering in the following list are not intended to reflect order of importance.

1. California needs to make a determination of the number of convicted sex offenders being handled at the county level, particularly the number on county probation but also the number serving post-conviction time in county jails.

2. California should conduct an analysis of the true recidivism rate (arrest or conviction) for sex offenders released from custody after serving a sentence in a CDCR prison. Such an analysis could look at recidivism over three-year, five-year and ten-year periods. To be meaningful, it would need to account for actual time at risk in the community and not include time when the individual had been returned to custody and so was not actually at risk to re-offend – a method of analysis not readily accomplished with data currently available. The presence for absence of certain management practices should be noted as well, including supervision, Containment, treatment, GPS tracking and others.

3. A similar analysis is needed for the recidivism of sex offenders sentenced to county probation.

4. Since the state is expending substantial resources on GPS for sex offenders, a large scale outcome evaluation and cost effectiveness analysis of GPS should be conducted. Such a study should include both CDCR and county probation and should take into account the risk level of the sex offenders included in the study.

5. The assumption that residence restrictions actually contribute to public safety should be evaluated. It seems clear that residence restrictions are driving up the numbers of homeless sex offenders and so the recidivism of transient versus those who have stable housing should be compared. Research strategies should be developed to answer the challenging question of whether residence restrictions actually increase public safety.

6. California should develop an accurate analysis of the projected total costs for GPS tracking if lifetime supervision were implemented.

7. If California were to come into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Act there would be substantial implementation costs. Although estimates have been generated with regard to some of the AWA requirements, an accurate forecast should be
developed to clarify the actual anticipated costs for all aspects of the new AWA requirements.

8. Under changes required by Proposition 83, increasing numbers of individuals now must be screened and evaluated to determine whether they meet the criteria for civil commitment as a “sexually violent predator.” These evaluations are very costly. Some careful analysis is needed to determine whether the benefits of such an extensive use of full SVP evaluations are justified by their benefit to community safety or whether there are other, less costly ways to preliminarily screen and determine whether a particular candidate is likely to meet the criteria for commitment.

9. There is a need to determine the full costs for requiring lifetime registration and notification for all PC290 registrants. Elsewhere in this report it is recommended that California revise its requirements for lifetime registration. A better knowledge of the full cost to the state and to local jurisdictions for maintaining and enforcing the lifetime requirement for all sex offenders, no matter what their risk level or how long they have lived crime free would further clarify the best future direction for California registration requirements.

10. Proposition 83 empowered cities and counties to enact their own residence restrictions for sex offenders. Not only is there no provision for keeping track of the proliferation of these regulations, but their impact is unknown. Research is needed to determine the impact of local ordinances on the housing of sex offenders, their degree of transience and their movement across jurisdictional boundaries as a result of such restrictions.

11. California should gather data tracking of the flow of sex offender cases from initial police report to arrest to conviction to disposition (including length of stay in prison) to supervision period to the post-supervision period. Such data would give a much clearer picture of how the larger system works and what impact various changes, such as longer sentences, have had. It would, for example, help planners determine whether the 25-years-to-life sentences are going to stem the flow into the civil commitment program.

12. Information should be gathered regarding how many sex offenders enter treatment programs and how many never do and whether that makes a difference in recidivism - inasmuch as research seems to suggest it may be the only intervention that does. Such research should also include information about the nature, length and quality of treatment programs.

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