Because the months following offenders’ transition from the institution to the community have been found to be a period of increased risk, close supervision and monitoring during this time are critical (Altschuler & Armstrong, 1996, 2001; Altschuler, Armstrong, & MacKenzie, 1999; Cumming & McGrath, 2000, 2005; Langan, et al., 2003; Petersilia, 2003). In many jurisdictions, sex offender supervision policies and procedures require more offender contacts in the months following release, while recognizing that the most intensive resources generally are to be reserved for those sex offenders who pose the greatest risk (Cumming & McGrath, 2000, 2005). (For more information about specialized supervision strategies, see the Supervision section of this protocol.)
Because of their important role in post–release management and their
familiarity with the communities where offenders will be returning, supervision
officers are uniquely positioned to “reach in” and assist case
managers in residential and institutional settings. This ensures that all relevant
stakeholders are included in the transition planning process and that there
are strategies developed prior to release to address the barriers to successful
reintegration. Policies and procedures that require supervision officers to
be assigned to sex offender caseloads prior to release are beneficial because
officers are able to develop constructive working relationships with offenders,
clarify the expectations associated with community reintegration and supervision,
and review the specific requirements associated with registration (Cumming & McGrath,
2000; Marshall et al., 2006). Furthermore, if officer–offender assignments
are made prior to release, supervision plans can be developed by assigned officers
with input from others who are involved in the transition planning process,
can be reviewed prior to an offender’s release. Ideally, initial reporting dates and locations are scheduled in advance of offenders’ transition back to the community.
Ideally, juvenile supervision officers or community case managers should be identified before transition begins. In some jurisdictions, a singular case management system is used, whereby a youth’s case manager is assigned at the point of disposition (or shortly thereafter) and follows him through the system. This provides for the development of a single case management plan that guides service provision, programming, and other management strategies from placement through transition and post–release supervision.
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