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Section 5: Lecture Content and Teaching Notes
Practical Supervision Strategies

4 hours, 30 minutes

(20 minutes)


Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes. In this section, we will discuss some of the behaviors a probation/parole officer is likely to encounter while supervising sex offenders and some appropriate responses to them.

Use Slide # SymbolUse Slide #12: Be Prepared for These Behaviors
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  • Intimidation. Although many sex offenders are compliant and cooperative, officers may encounter situations in which an offender will attempt to be intimidating. He may choose to sit too close to the officer, violating a sense of personal space. He may stare. He may act provocatively. Officers should feel free to ask the offender to be seated in a different location and to cease staring. The offender should be called on provocative behavior. These techniques are attempts to put the officer on the defensive and deflect attention from the real issue: the offender's sexual assault behavior.

  • Emotional outbursts. An offender may break down in front of an officer during an interview. It is best to simply accept this as one normal response from the offender. Allow him to compose himself and then move forward. Do not allow this behavior to become manipulative.

  • "Splitting" and manipulating. The offender will almost certainly test the supervision team by providing different information to different team members and alleging that his treatment provider has told him something that conflicts with what the probation/parole officer has told him. He will also attempt to discredit any information that reflects negatively on him. It is vital that officers communicate openly and consistently with other stakeholders who are involved in the community supervision of sex offenders. This makes it much more difficult for the offenders to split the team and manipulate its individual members.

    Refer to Handout Symbol Refer to handout: See Section 3 handouts for examples of no-contact definitions (Maricopa County, Arizona and Oregon).

  • Creative interpretation of conditions or instructions of any kind. Sex offenders are masters of interpreting information in ways to achieve their own ends. This is why it is essential to give them instructions and conditions in writing and to mandate that they provide their signature acknowledging that they have received them, have read them, understand what they mean, and will follow them. If there are specific sex offender terms and conditions, it is very important for the officer to clarify every term on the first visit. It is not uncommon, for example, for offenders to expect to move back home with their children or continue contact with older victims. A field visit should be made as soon as possible to make sure the offender complies with this directive. (Maricopa County [AZ] Adult Probation Department and Jackson County, Oregon's Community Corrections have created definitions of contact with minors that are two pages in length. These definitions are very specific in their directions regarding what "contact" means.)

Discussion Question? Discussion Question: Has anyone had an experience with any of these behaviors they'd like to share? How have you responded to these behaviors in the past?