Skip to Main ContentCenter for Sex Offender Management, Supervision of Sex Offenders in the Community: A Training Curriculum
A Project of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice
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Long Version
Innovative Approaches
Components of Supervision
Sex Offender-Specific Treatment
Practical Supervision Strategies
Evaluation Form
Medium Version
Short Version
Other CSOM Curricula
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Long Version
The long version (3 days) is designed for line staff and supervisors who have significant direct responsibility for the community supervision of sex offenders. It is also designed for other members of supervision teams--such as treatment providers, polygraph examiners, and law enforcement officers--who would benefit from a more comprehensive understanding of supervision activities. It covers the material in the shorter versions and includes a section on sex offender-specific treatment and how to identify and work with treatment providers. The long version also discusses such specific practices as interviewing and working with denial, which officers routinely encounter.

An Overview of the Training
In addition to giving a brief overview of the training's goals and structure, this section introduces background materials that are essential to the effectiveness of the training. Segments on victims of sexual assault and sex offenders provide a solid basis on which to build the practices of comprehensive sex offender management. A segment on an Emerging Approach to Sex Offender Management similarly offers a framework for understanding the challenges posed by this category of offender and the strategies that have emerged in response.

Learning Activities in this section invite participants and faculty to introduce themselves and their interest in this topic. The Learning Activities also ask participants to begin to examine the implications of these issues for their own work, creating motivation and context for the sections that follow. They include a brainstorm activity to consider the many potential allies and collaborators in sex offender management, discussion questions on the implications of the emerging approaches, and the introduction of a Case Study that will be used throughout the training.

Innovative Approaches to Supervision of Sex Offenders in the Community
This section introduces some important governing concepts that will resonate throughout the rest of the training. These include: victim-centered supervision, collaboration, and supervision networks. Victim-centered supervision is a governing principle in emerging practice, and it can be a definite change from past practice. Trainers should be prepared to discuss the reasons for this change and its implications. Use of the polygraph is also covered here briefly. Other sections of the training will assume an understanding of the role of supervision networks in managing sex offenders, which is covered here. Significant time and attention is given to the kinds of collaboration that are essential to effective sex offender management, and the roles of different team members.

The Learning Activities for this section include several sets of discussion questions and an exercise for mapping responsibility for different activities related to sex offender management. The Case Study—which is introduced for use in the first section, and heavily used in the third section on components of supervision—is also used here.

Components of Supervision: Specialized Approaches to Managing Sex Offenders
This section of the curriculum is about tailoring community supervision practices to the specific challenges posed by sex offenders. Unlike the final section, which talks about strategies and techniques for working with individual offenders, this section talks about how to structure the practice of supervision to manage sex offenders most effectively. It begins with a discussion of relapse prevention as a framework for sex offender supervision practices. Other parts of this section, such as the discussion of and the presentation of strategies and techniques for dealing with lapses, will require a basic understanding of relapse prevention as a process. The three topics that receive the most attention here are the Pre-sentence Investigation (PSI), Sex Offender Assessment, and Conditions of Supervision. It is important to recognize that, while many officers are not responsible for conducting pre-sentence investigations, the investigation process for sex offenders yields information that is essential to developing sex offender-specific conditions and a case plan. So, unless those responsible for PSIs in a given jurisdiction are trained in sex offender-specific investigations, it is likely that the supervising agent will have to conduct his or her own investigation at a later stage. In other words, the information covered here is important to supervision, whether or not the training participants actually conduct PSIs.

Learning Activities for this section all involve the Case Study that was introduced in the first two sections. Participants will be asked to consider the choices and the decisions that they would make if presented with the facts they are given. Trainers might want to give some thought in advance to the composition of the small groups that will be working together to respond to Case Study questions.

Sex Offender Treatment in the Context of Supervision
This section provides an overview of the cognitive-behavioral model of treatment currently in favor among the most successful sex offender management teams. It is geared specifically toward helping agents understand the relationship between the treatment program and supervision. It reviews current research available on the effectiveness of sex offender treatment, the basic goals of sex offender-specific treatment and some of the specific methods used by treatment providers to reach those goals. It also provides guidance for probation and parole agents on how to evaluate the work of a treatment program, what to look for in a treatment provider, and critical areas where treatment providers and agents can work together to support offender compliance and enhance community safety.

The learning activities in this section consist of a set of discussion questions that ask participants to consider the kind of treatment options available in their jurisdiction and how they compare to the model provided. The questions also take participants into some theoretical issues, such as possible tensions or conflicts between the goals of supervision and the goals of treatment, and the benefits and pitfalls of certain kinds of collaboration between agents and treatment programs.

Practical Supervision Strategies
This section identifies eleven aspects of supervision as they apply to sex offenders in the community. Maintaining control of interactions, initial interviews, handling denial, making use of different case work settings, and testifying in court are the major topic areas. Other particularly important areas include dealing with lapses, working with families, and secondary trauma. The opportunity exists, here in particular, for trainers to focus on those areas of most concern to participants. For example, if participants have significant experience and training in testifying in court, then that segment can be abbreviated or eliminated to allow more time for other topics that are of more interest to participants.

The learning activities in this section invite participants to consider and share practices or techniques they've used or experiences they've had or are concerned about in the context of supervision. The activities include discussion questions, role playing, analysis of specific techniques, and planning for the application of the most useful information to the individual's case management practices. The role-playing activity uses the facts of the Case Study to provide a structure for practice in interviewing. Keep in mind that this was not designed to be a skill-building training per se, and participants may feel like they need more training or practice in applying some of these techniques and strategies. Trainers may want to consider following up the training with additional skill-building sessions.