We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Community Treatment and Supervision of Sex Offenders: How Its Done Across the Country and in California

December 2004:

Sexual crimes strike particular fear in our collective conscience, especially if the victims are children. It appears to be a growing category of crime. Since 1980, the number of imprisoned sex offenders has grown by more than seven percent per year, and in 1994, nearly one in 10 state prisoners were incarcerated for committing a sexual offense.1 It is estimated that in the United States today there are over 265,000 convicted sex offenders under the jurisdiction of correctional agencies, with more than one half under some form of community supervision.2 According to figures from the State Attorney General’s Office, in California there are approximately 102,000 registered sex offenders of which 67,000 are under some form of community supervision.3

All states require that sex offenders on parole or probation register with their local law enforcement agency.4 In addition, states are designing new techniques for managing and supervising sex offenders including individual and group therapy, dedicated parole caseloads, and lifetime supervision. However, many of these programs have limited funding. Many paroled sex offenders with learning disabilities and mental illness, for example, do not receive the same level of supervision as other sex offenders because it is not practical or feasible to have specially trained parole agents or case managers for this population. In many states including California, many paroled sex offenders do not receive specialized treatment or therapy as part of their supervision.

States are taking a number of different approaches to managing and supervising sex offenders once they are released from incarceration. One trend is to require sex offenders to participate in formal medical treatment programs as a condition of release. In a growing number of states, the most serious sex offenders are classified as sexual predators and are likely to remain incarcerated for indeterminate periods or undergo extended periods of specialized treatment in secure facilities. By 1998, 12 states (including California) had passed sexual predator laws that authorized limited or indeterminate periods of confinement and treatment in secure settings. Today, that number has grown to at least 17 states (see Table 1). Only California’s law calls for a time-limited confinement of two years in the state department of mental health, with the possibility of extension.5

The purpose of this study is to examine community placement trends involving the least serious to the most serious sexual offenders, what the placement process involves, who is responsible, who is involved, when the community is notified, and to review the most successful treatment trends. In addition, California sex offender policies and practices will be examined and compared to national trends and innovations in specialized sex offender treatment and management supervision.

For the remainder of this paper: by Marcus Nieto

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