Saturday, October 25, 2014

Council of State Governments Justice Center 2014 Presentation- An Overview of Sex Offender Reentry: Building a Foundation for Professionals

I’m 6 months late in finding this but better late than never! 

Mary Devoy

Presentation by Council of State Governments Justice Center, April 23, 2014 

An Overview of Sex Offender Reentry: Building a Foundation for Professionals
·         Kurt Bumby, Ph.D.
·         David D’Amora, M.S., LPC, CFC
·         Shenique S. Thomas, Ph.D. 


75 Slide Presentation:

CURE-SORT Summary on this Presentation: 

Over 1,000 participants participated in this first of a series to address ways to assist one with a sex offense who is returning to the community. Research shows that re-arrest figures are more likely to be a non-sex crime and that supervision violations are high.  

Those working with this population have found a daunting task in developing comprehensive reentry strategies which meet the countless difficult hurdles a person with a sex offense faces upon release.  

The webinar presented those participating, which included criminal justice professionals, parole and probation agents, corrections professionals, reentry professionals and advocates, with statistics, information about the population being emphasized, barriers and challenges faced by this population, and a plan to assist those professionals responsible for assisting those with a sex offense as they transition into the community.  

Thus it was positive to hear an emphasis will be made to change from a surveillance approach to a success oriented approach. It will be a plan to work with those with sex offenses in prison with an eye toward their release. There will be an emphasis on “in to out” strategy as is the case in Canada. Treatment that will be given in prison will continue on the same plan when the person is paroled.  

Another excellent discussion was the fact that not all people with a sex offense charge need treatment. And the fact was mentioned that nine percent of those in prison have a sex offense charge, but that not all people labeled or charged as such are the same and should be treated accordingly. There is a movement stating that not all people with sex offenses are the same and should be assessed differently. 

Acknowledgement was made that there will be many barriers to this approach. It will involve an emphasis for the changes with legislatures that include policy changes; case management changes and the public will have to be enlightened.  

It is well known that some lawmakers have used sex offender laws as political football and threatened anyone showing a willingness to lessen sentences or make changes to registries or residence laws as being “soft on crime.” It will be a major challenge to show a move toward assistance to those with sex offenses in the aspect of valid therapy in prison and then continuing it on into parole.  

With 12 percent of state prison population housing people with a sex offense, 30% of whom are admitted into the system with a parole violation, it is vital for a change in procedure.