Section 2: Lecture Content & Teaching Notes
An Innovative Approach to Supervision of Sex Offenders in the Community: Collaboration
At the conclusion of this section, you will be able to describe one important innovation in sex offender supervision that has emerged in recent probation and parole practice: a collaborative approach to sex offender supervision, one version of which is known as the "containment" approach.
In this section, we'll look at an overview of sex offender supervision, rather than focusing on specific supervision tools and strategies. We will explore the ways in which supervision agencies forge relationships with other agencies and disciplines to enhance their approaches to supervising sex offenders in their communities. This innovation is premised on the recognition that it is necessary to reach out to other individuals, agencies, and resources to create a more comprehensive capacity to manage sex offenders in the community.
Current sex offender management practices are based on two basic premises:
It's easy to see the offender as our client because his name is on the case; he's the one we're developing a plan for and the one we meet with and monitor. But our job is public safety and the victim and the community are our clients. They're the ones we're working to keep safe in the short and long term. If management ends with checking to see whether a sex offender is going to treatment and paying his restitution, but he molests another child or sexually abuses another woman, then we're not doing right by our clients.
- Multidisciplinary collaboration is more effective than the work that any one discipline can do alone; and
- The safety needs of victims and the community must be at the forefront of any management strategy.
This approach recognizes that sex offenders as a group are in need of special management practices. It views the goal of sex offender management as containing the potential danger of the offender through the development of his internal controls (treatment) and the application of the justice system's external controls (supervision). This requires cooperation and collaboration among supervisors and treatment providers. It also involves, wherever possible, the use of the polygraph. And it involves victim advocates who ensure that the safety needs of victims are considered in both policy and practice, and who work to help maximize the benefits of victim involvement.
Note: One model management process that you may have heard about, documented by English et al., is called "The Containment Approach." For more info about this approach and the use of polygraph in sex offender management, see APPA's publication, Managing Adult Sex Offenders: A Containment Approach (1996), edited by English, Pullen, and Jones.