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2004 Colorado:

Executive Summary:
The Colorado Division of Criminal Justice, Office of Domestic Violence and Sex Offender Management, conducted research on the safety issues raised by living arrangements of sex offenders in the community. This research primarily focused on two questions:
(1) Do the living arrangements of sex offenders, including Shared Living Arrangements, have an impact on community safety?

(2) Do the location of sex offender residences, specifically in proximity to schools and childcare centers, have an impact on community safety?
To answer these questions, probation files were reviewed on both a random sample of sex offenders under probation supervision in the Denver metropolitan area and an all-inclusive sample of sex offenders under probation supervision in the Denver metropolitan area living in a Shared Living Arrangement (n = 130 for the combined sample). Data were extracted from the first 15 months of supervision for the sex offenders selected for this study.

The findings and subsequent recommendations are presented below.

(1) High-risk sex offenders living in Shared Living Arrangements had significantly fewer violations than those living in other living arrangements. In addition, the average overall number of violations was low in Shared Living Arrangements, which is surprising, given that this was the only residence type that had significantly more highrisk sex offenders. Shared Living Arrangements also had one of the shortest amounts of time between when a sex offender committed a violation and when the probation officer or treatment provider found out about the violation. In addition, the roommates of sex offenders living in Shared Living Arrangements called in violations of probation and treatment requirements to the sex offender’s treatment provider and probation officer more times than roommates in any other living arrangement. This leads back to the conclusion that a positive support system, which 100% of the Shared Living Arrangements provided, is an important component of being successful in treatment.

Recommendation: Shared Living Arrangements appear to be a frequently successful mode of containment and treatment for higher risk sex offenders and should be considered a viable living situation for higher risk sex offenders living in the community.

(2) Although residences’ proximity to schools and childcare centers was not specifically analyzed; two things could be inferred from maps created for this project. One, in urban areas, a large number of schools and childcare centers are located within various neighborhoods, leaving extremely limited areas for sex offenders to reside if restrictions were implemented. Second, sex offenders who have committed a criminal offense (both sexual and non-sexual) while under criminal justice supervision appear to be randomly scattered throughout the study areas -- there does not seem to be a greater number of these offenders living within proximity to schools and childcare centers than other types of offenders. In addition to the maps, the state of Iowa’s legal challenge to their law provides some insight into the constitutionality of restricting sex offender residences.

Recommendation: Placing restrictions on the location of correctionaly supervised sex offender residences may not deter the sex offender from re-offending and should not be considered as a method to control sexual offending recidivism.

For the remainder of this paper: by Colorado Department of Public Safety Division of Criminal Justice Sex Offender Management Board

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