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Over several years, sexual crimes have continued to raise concerns within the United States population (Nieto, 2004). This happens due to the rise in sexual related crimes within the country. Between 1980 and 1994, for instance, the number of incarcerated sex offenders grew by a yearly margin of seven percent, a figure that represented one in every ten cases of incarceration (Nieto, 2004).
Consequently, there was the need to supervise sex offenders within the community in spite of the posed challenges. However, different supervision strategies must be used depending on the risk levels posed by sex offenders in the society. In this paper, the author discussed three strategies of supervising sex offenders within the community namely: GPS Monitoring, Restrictive Residency Perimeters, and Case Management Approach.
Within the last ten years, the use of electronic monitoring technologies has risen to prevent sex offenders from committing further crimes in the future (IACP, 2008). One such technology is the Global Positioning Satellite technology that law enforcement officials use in tracking the sex offenders within the society. Depending on the risks posed to the society, sex offenders may be subjected to different lengths of supervision ranging from five years to lifetime supervision. An advantage of the GPS monitoring system against other forms of traditional monitoring system is that it gives the exact position of an offender within 10 to 15 feet (IACP, 2008). This strategy, therefore, is an effective means of conducting close supervision to sex offenders in the community.
There are two categories of GPS tracking, which include the active and passive forms (IACP, 2008). Both passive and active forms include exclusion zones that vary according to each offender. In the active system, the monitoring official such as a parole officer receives instant notifications when an offender enters an exclusion zone; hence, the appropriate measures are taken. In passive systems, the data become recorded, but the monitoring official does not get an instant notification. It is quite easy, using these systems, for the supervision officers to establish offender violations from the notifications received (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005).
High-risk sex offenders are the perfect candidates for supervision by the GPS system as all the information about their whereabouts are relayed in regular intervals to the supervision officer. This means that violations by the offender are captured for use as evidence against the officer. When offenses are committed, and the evidences handed over by the supervision officers, appropriate measures including incarceration be taken.
This tool is effective because it restricts the offender’s actions and generates inducement to abide by the terms of their supervision (IACP, 2008). Despite the numerous benefits of using the GPS system, there still exist some limitations as the system does not totally guarantee safety of the public (DeMichele, Brian & Deeanna, 2007). For example, sex offenders may trick victims to areas outside the exclusion zones and commit an offence. Additionally, the system may be expensive and substantially increases the workload of the supervision officers.
Restrictive Residency Perimeters
In order for correctional facilities to ensure the society remains safe from sex offenders, residency restrictions that prevent sex offenders from living within selected areas can serve the purpose (Payne, n.d). Currently, at least 14 jurisdictions have already implemented laws that restrict convicted sex offenders from living within established radiuses from schools, parks and other areas where children are crowded.
The restriction on residing areas may vary between 1,000 and 2,500 from the listed areas as defined by the correctional facilities management (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005). Since residency perimeters give clear barriers to sex offender residing areas, supervision officers can effectively manage the offenders.
Within the state of Illinois, legislation has been passed restricting any convicted sex offender (including those on probation and parole) from living at the same address where another person convicted of a sex offence lives. This approach ensures that sex offenders do not get close together since this can compromise the supervision process; hence, result in possible recidivism. However, sex offenders my equally stay together in transitional housing facilities, which must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) in order to operate.
In Oklahoma, sex offenders that victimized children below 18 years are restricted from residing 2,000 feet from schools or licensed day cares (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005). Implementing this strategy in sex offender supervision helps supervision officers to manage the offenders effectively, as the victim is eliminated. During supervision, sex offenders are subject to both home-based or prison based treatment programs depending on their perceived improvement (DeMichele, Brian & Deeanna, 2007).
Case Management Approach
In the recent years, the numbers of registered sex offenders within the United States have gradually increased (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005). As a result, supervision officers are assigned to a larger number of sex offenders who require close supervisions than in the past. As a solution, law enforcement agencies and correctional facilities implemented the use of volunteers to boost the effective management of sex offenders within the society. This idea resulted in the creation and use of the case management team as a strategy to aid supervision officers in handling immense workloads (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2005).
A case management team refers to individuals within the locality of an offender that can supplement the management offered by supervision officers. These individuals can either be family members, volunteers, or any other person that have sufficient knowledge about the operations of the sex offender (CSOM, 2000). Furthermore, the supervision officer can get sensitive information from individuals familiar with the offender’s behavior without necessarily having to schedule meetings with the offender. As such, relevant information about the offender can be received in a relatively short span of time.
Case management system enables supervision officers to manage offenders effectively because the community gives ready information about sex offenders. Also, they are able to deduce whether the sex offender is improving or posses increasing risk to the society. Consequently, an appropriate action can be undertaken in time in order to keep the society safe from danger. In some jurisdictions, correctional facilities have improved supervision networks that include family members and volunteers.
In Vermont, for instance, correctional facilities include family members, friends, sponsors and others in their supervision programs (DeMichele, Brian & Deeanna, 2007). Furthermore, volunteers receive training on how to assist sex offenders reintegrate into the society, as well as, give information on the offender’s progress. Surprisingly, these positive approaches to sex offender management have resulted in a significantly reduced recidivism (CSOM, 2000).
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The mentioned approaches play a significant role in reducing sex offender recidivism since a close and objective supervision can be realized from implementing the strategies. Also, information becomes easily available to the supervisor giving a clear progress of the sex offender’s progress. The case management approach and the GPS system are excellent examples of this fact. In conclusion, the implementation of these approaches yields positive results in terms of reducing recidivism.
Bureau of Justice Assistance. (2005). Managing Sex Offenders: Citizen Supporting Law Enforcement. Web.
CSOM. (2000). Community Supervision of the Sex Offender: An Overview of Current and Promising Practices. Web.
DeMichele, M., Brian, P., & Deeanna, B. (2007). A Call for Evidence-Based Policy. Web.
IACP. (2008). Tracking Sex Offenders with Electronic Monitoring Technology: Implications and Practical Uses for Law Enforcement. Web.
Nieto, M. (2004). Community Treatment and Supervision of Sex Offenders: How it is Done Across the Country and in California. Web.
Payne, B. (n.d). Warning: Sex Offenders need to be supervised in the Community. Web.