Section 3: Lecture Content and Teaching Notes
Components of Supervision: Specialized Approaches to Managing Sex Offenders
6 hours, 50 minutes
TOPIC: PRE-SENTENCE INVESTIGATION RECOMMENDATIONS
The fruits of gathering all the information and analyzing it are intended to be threefold for the users of the PSI
- To assess the level of risk the offender presents to the community, including the risk to the victim or victims;
- To assess the offender's amenability to specialized treatment; and
- To understand what special conditions should be imposed in order to enhance the likelihood that the offender can be managed safely in the community.
Clearly, the three are interrelated and shaped directly by the information gathered in the course of the PSI.
|LEVEL OF RISK TO THE COMMUNITY|
The PSI's summary recommendation regarding the offender's level of risk to the community should include outcomes of the specific risk assessments we've just been talking about, but is based on all the information gathered and analyzed in the course of the investigation. The recommendation should include a brief synthesis of35
The probability of re-offense (as defined by the best available actuarial risk assessment tool);
- Who the offender's target victims have been in the past (age range, gender, relationship);
- Recommendations regarding risk found in the sex offender-specific evaluation (if available);
- Factors discovered during the investigation that tend to exacerbate risk (e.g., violence, easy access to victims, lack of treatment resources in the community, lack of amenability to treatment, enabling attitude of family and/or friends);
- Factors discovered during the investigation that tend to support the ability of the criminal justice system to manage this offender's risk effectively in the community (e.g., supportive family/friends, availability of specialized treatment, access to polygraph, sufficient supervision resources, ability to limit access to victims and potential victims, willingness to agree to sex offender-specific conditions of supervision); and
- The degree of harm that might be anticipated if the offender were to re-offend.
|AMENABILITY TO TREATMENT|
Ideally, the probation/parole officer will have significant guidance regarding the amenability to treatment based upon a sex offender-specific evaluation report obtained as part of the PSI. In reality, many probation agencies are forced to make recommendations to the court without benefit of such an evaluation. If such is the case, the probation/parole officer should examine a number of variables, including the degree to which the offender36
Accepts responsibility for his actions. (Because many, if not most, offenders exhibit some form of denial, the challenge for the probation/parole officer is to assess whether the offender is showing some signs of lessening his denial.);
- Exhibits some understanding that his offense has created negative consequences and trauma for the victim;
- Admits that his behavior is a problem for himself;
- Indicates a willingness to participate in specialized treatment; and
- Agrees to comply with a set of sex offender-specific conditions of supervision.
If specialized treatment is available, it is advisable to provide the offender with an example of a treatment contract at the time of the PSI and document that the offender has received it. This eliminates the opportunity later on for the offender to claim that he had no idea what would be expected in treatment.
|VICTIM IMPACT AND SAFETY|
PSIs should include information regarding the impact of the crime on the victim (including degree of trauma suffered, injury, and financial loss) and the probation/parole officer's insights regarding the special conditions of supervision needed to protect the victim. Whenever possible, the victim should be involved in developing these conditions.
|CONDITIONS OF SUPERVISION|
The PSI should also summarize the probation/parole officer's recommendations for conditions of supervision tailored to the sex offender, ensuring that the recommendations are consistent with existing jurisdictional standards or legislative mandates. The next section of the training discusses special conditions of supervision currently being used by probation agencies to supervise sex offenders, monitor their compliance, and respond to violations.
Refer to handout: The trainer should reference the example of the PSI report that is in the participant materials for Section 3 of the Long Version of this curriculum.