Sex Offender Supervision and Rules
Public safety is the primary objective of sex offender supervision. The offender's potential for reoffense must remain paramount in the minds of staff responsible for the supervision of sex offenders. The implications of reoffense and further victimization are extremely serious given the nature of these types of offenses.
Sex offenders are not like other offenders in that factors such as stable employment, financial stability, offender compliance, and a prosocial lifestyle may not necessarily indicate a reduced level of risk. Behaviors serving as precursors to reoffense are often subtle and seemingly unrelated to sexual deviance.
Critical elements of effective supervision include the following:
Close coordination with law enforcement and other community agencies is another important element of supervision. Active, coordinated supervision and participation in treatment/correctional programming can provide increased offender accountability as well as opportunities for the offender to obtain knowledge and skills to prevent relapse and avoid reoffense.
Supervising sex offenders is a multifaceted activity, requiring agents to adopt various roles and to work closely with a variety of other professionals as well as family members, employers and others who routinely interact with the offender. A high level of vigilance is required to anticipate and detect offender activities that increase the risk for reoffending and/or maintaining deviant thoughts and behaviors.
The dynamics of sexual deviance are complicated, pervasive and frequently impact most areas of the offender's life. Effective supervision of sex offenders requires the imposition of rules/conditions that address offender issues, impulses, and behaviors that are intensely personal, private and sensitive. The process of developing and imposing rules/conditions of supervision can cause discomfort for both the offender and the agent.
At first glance, rules for sex offenders may appear onerous, extreme or overly cautious. However, when these rules are considered within the context of an offender's criminal history and patterns of sexual deviancy, the relevance and necessity of such rules become evident. Sufficient levels of control and intrusion into personal aspects of the offender's life are frequently necessary to detect, interrupt, and intervene in an offender's deviant cycle. The offender's cycle is often supported and maintained by secrecy and denial; therefore, it is imperative that the rules imposed address the unique needs of a particular sex offender, even if such rules appear intrusive.
At intake, a standard set of sex offender rules is imposed for all sex offenders placed on supervision. Other special rules may also be added as appropriate based upon each offender's particular case and history. These special rules must be related to current and /or past criminal behavior and/or conviction history. The rules also must be related to community protection and the offender's rehabilitation. Additionally, the rule must be such that it can be monitored, enforced and the offender is held accountable. Lastly, the rule must be clearly explained to the offender and understood by the offender. When imposing rules, the agent must consider the ability to detect the violation of the rule and the willingness and ability to hold the offender accountable for violation of the rule.
The following are Wisconsin Department of Corrections standard supervision rules specifically for sex offenders:
Rules and conditions are frequently discussed between agent and offender. Due to the nature of sex offenses, agent interaction with the offender during face-to-face contacts requires skill and careful planning. The intrusive nature of questions asked and discussion of sensitive, personal issues often create discomfort and embarrassment for the offender. Sex offenders are frequently reluctant to disclose information about their activities and patterns of sexual deviance. This reluctance is sometimes caused by feelings of guilt and shame. However, failure to disclose is frequently a result of denial and serves as a means for maintaining secrecy about behaviors.
Offenders must come to recognize and acknowledge their offenses and patterns of sexual deviancy if they are to be successful in managing and controlling their behavior.
If the offender is motivated to change, disclosure of behaviors typically occurs over time. As the offender gains trust in the agent and the treatment provider, information is gradually shared and a more complete sexual history is obtained.
Violations of rules are considered serious. Prompt response to all violations by sex offenders is an essential element of supervision. Violations, which may be considered minor for other types of offenders, are often serious for sex offenders. Seemingly insignificant violations may support or be closely related to the offender's pattern for sexually deviant behavior. For sex offenders, even "minor" rules violations may warrant revocation. Protection of the public and potential victims are the primary concern.
The above from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections web page. These rules are generally applied not only for a person on probation for a sex offense but also on probation with a prior sex offense and also if the criminal complaint seems to allege any sexual nature to the crime even if not what the person is convicted for doing. I.e., a person convicted of disorderly conduct, criminal damage to property, battery, trespass, or forgery, burglary may end up with these rules.
Charles Kyle Kenyon - When Experience Matters
Attorney at Law
5555 Odana Road, Suite 101
Madison, WI 53719-1281
Telephone (608) 276-9645
Former (Elected) District Attorney
Former Assistant State Public Defender
Extensive jury trial experience in cases ranging from traffic to sexual assault / homicide
Thousands of criminal cases since 1979
Appeals in Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court
Trainer / presenter / panelist for American Bar Association, National College of District Attorneys, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin Public Defender
Founding Director - Children's Law Section - State Bar of Wisconsin
Past-President: Marinette County Bar Association, Door-Kewaunee Bar Association
Life Member: National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)
Member: Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (WACDL)
Member: National College for DUI Defense
Member: State Bar of Wisconsin, Dane County Bar Association
Admitted to practice: State of Wisconsin, Federal - Eastern District of Wisconsin, Western District of Wisconsin, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
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