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A Project of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice
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Medium Version
Section 3: Lecture Content and Teaching Notes
Components of Supervision: Specialized Approaches to Managing Sex Offenders

3 hours

(5 minutes)

Use Slide # SymbolUse Slide #34: Surveillance as a Tool for Sex Offender Supervision
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Probation/parole agencies have learned that monitoring the behavior of sex offenders, particularly their compliance with the conditions of supervision and access to victims, greatly enhances their ability to assure community safety. Some probation/parole agencies are now deploying "surveillance" officers to supplement the work of probation/parole officers. For example, in Maricopa County, Arizona, the Adult Probation Department has developed teams of probation/parole officers and sex offender surveillance officers. A surveillance officer's primary job is to be in the community, checking up on the most high-risk sex offenders. They work rotating shifts—allowing surveillance to be conducted 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Surveillance officers monitor sex offenders' whereabouts and activities, verify addresses, assure that residences are in compliance with program standards and regulations, and communicate with the probation/parole officer and treatment provider. They have access to vehicles, radios, and pagers to maintain contact with the department's dispatch and assure their own safety while in the field. In other communities, probation departments are teaming with local police to enhance their capacity for surveillance. Some agencies are teaming with local police departments who are assisting with surveillance and, thus, expanding the resources available to assure community safety.