Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sex Offender Supervision Model


SEX OFFENDER SUPERVISION MODEL
  NEW MEXICO DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS

The 2016 Legislative Session has arrived. This is one in a series of posts from the staff of the New Mexico Corrections Department. We intend to send a daily update to all our legislators with key points, facts, figures, personal stories describing life here at NMCD.
when does a sex offender begin to receive treatment in prison?
NMCD believes that reentry begins on the first day of incarceration. Therefore, NMCD sex offenders begin to receive sex offender specific services as soon as they are incarcerated. While in prison, sex offenders are housed in special management pods. Those incarcerated for a sex offense begin receiving sex offender services at the onset of their incarceration and continue receiving services throughout their term of probation or parole. Once released from prison (or when sentenced to probation), all sex offenders are referred to a special management unit of probation and parole, the sex offender unit. Once assigned to a Probation/Parole Officer from the sex offender unit, that Probation/Parole Officer provides each offender with a referral for an assessment by a sex offender specific counselor to determine risk factor and address the specific needs of the offender (relapse prevention / sex offender counseling / substance abuse / victim empathy / domestic violence / anger management).

what kinds of services do they receive?

While in prison, sex offenders have the opportunity to participate in The sex offender Treatment Program (SOTP). This program is a one-year psycho-educational and counseling program with an ultimate goal of reducing likelihood of committing another sex offense.

SOTP begins by using a validated risk assessment in order to target each persons specific treatment needs. The program is very intensive--with inmates receiving services for 24 hours per week throughout the year. The program follows an evidence-based curriculum, and includes 7 phases: taking responsibility, behavioral techniques, victim empathy, sexual education, anger management, and relapse prevention techniques. Everyone who completes the program leaves with a discharge summary, including recommendations for aftercare and their individualized relapse prevention plan. Program evaluation has shown that only 3-4% of those who complete SOTP return to prison on a new sex offense.
What does the sex offender unit do?
The mission of the sex offender unit is to ensure public safety and reduce the risk of recidivism by aiding in a successful reintegration into society through a focus on treatment and counseling. Successful completion of supervision can provide an excellent foundation for an independent and law abiding life after supervision. The New Mexico Corrections Department created the sex offender unit in 2004. It is responsible for statewide supervision of sex offenders. This unit employs specially trained staff and enforces a variety of supervision conditions which are unique to sex offenders. The supervision of the sex offender unit includes referrals to sex offender specific counseling and treatment providers, evidence-based sex offender risk assessments, individualized case management, frequent compliance checks, search and seizure, GPS monitoring and surveillance, drug and alcohol testing, registration and notification, victim advocacy and notification, computer monitoring, computer forensic examinations, and participation in polygraph examinations. The sex offender unit assists offenders in their reintegration by focusing on a stable residence and consistent employment which allows the offenders to become independent and reduce their change of reoffending. If an offender does not comply with any of the terms of their supervision, the sex offender unit attempts to correct the behavior through increased counseling and treatment services, community service and short term periods of incarceration to redirect the offenders thinking. If the offender chooses to not take full advantage of the services offered to them and remains non-compliant, they may be returned to confinement to serve the remainder of their sentence.

is there transitional housing for sex offenders?
Sex offenders are faced with unique residency restrictions which can make it difficult to obtain housing. At times, an offender may have a supportive family willing to take them in after their period of incarceration. However, these residences are not always acceptable based off proximity to schools, parks, daycares, or other places where children congregate. This increases the number of homeless sex offenders. Although homelessness is a nationwide concern, homelessness provides unique challenges to sex offenders under supervision. Sex offenders are required to be on active GPS bracelets. Without electricity or reliable locations to charge the GPS equipment, supervision becomes more challenging. It is the goal of the sex offender unit to have no homeless offenders in the Albuquerque area.

In New Mexico, sex offenders are not required to live in Transitional Housing. If an offender has a supportive and suitable family environment to return to, they should do so. Offenders who transition from prison into a family home tend to have a higher success rate due to the emotional and financial support offered from their families. However, several factors are at play in this: community of origin, victim location and safety, and offender needs and safety. If residency restrictions exist, the family is not supportive, or if living with family would not be conducive to success while on supervision, NMCD has a contract with a transitional housing vendor which can provide housing as a last resort. NMCD currently has a contract which provides sex offenders housing in the Albuquerque area. Albuquerque provides great proximity to services, jobs, education, and public transportation. If that location would not be suitable due to victim proximity, lack of family ties to the community, or other limitations, NMCD also has a contract with Eagles Unlimited which could provide non-contracted housing in other parts of the state. Eagles funding will only be offered towards a lease agreement when an offender has reasonable means to continue meeting the financial obligations of that lease once Eagles funding has ceased. It is the ultimate goal of NMCD to place an offender in a living environment where they have the best chance of success. In addition to the contracted transitional housing described above, the sex offender unit has partnered with numerous private apartment owners who provide exclusive rental rights to sex offenders who are employed.
how are sex offenders supervised upon release?

In Albuquerque, the Bernalillo Sheriff's Office and the Albuquerque Police Department have assigned 7 Officers to work specifically with sex offender registration and tracking (SORT). There is also a Special Victims unit sponsored by the Sheriff's Department. This special team of Officers works closely with our sex offender unit to help ensure offenders compliance with the rules and regulations as well as investigating new sexual crimes that may occur. This close partnership with law enforcement creates a well-rounded team interested in the success and compliance of offenders throughout the Albuquerque area.
In addition to working collaboratively with outside agencies to help ensure our offenders success, NMCD also works well within its own organization. Our prisons follow a unit management approach, which assigns each inmate to a case manager. These case managers frequently work together with probation and parole throughout the release planning process to ensure a seamless transition into society. Sex offenders are required to be on active GPS bracelets.

Is Providing treatment to sex offenders is too costly and/or ineffective?
Many misconceptions exist about sex offenders. These misconceptions come from a lack of education regarding sex offenders and help drive fear. The New Mexico Corrections Department is committed to providing accurate facts and truthful information to help New Mexicans understand the intensity of supervision and services offered to sexual offenders, and the work that the New Mexico Corrections Department does to support public safety. Treatment for sex offenders has been shown to reduce their recidivism rate, which can help save tax payers substantial imprisonment costs.
Are Most sex offenses are committed by strangers to the victim?
Most sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

Do Most sex offenders continuously reoffend throughout their lives?
Recidivism data suggests that this is not the case.

WHAT IS THE RECIDIVISM RATE FOR SEX OFFENDERS?
The New Mexico Corrections Department is committed to reducing criminal recidivism. A key element of reducing recidivism is to ensure that our programs are evaluated and that our treatment services are evidence based. Relating to outpatient sex offender counseling and treatment services, NMCD only contracts with providers who utilize evidence based practices.

Below, is a list of all contracted providers for probation and parole:

Contracted Provider Name
Areas Serviced
Agave Health
Bernalillo, Valencia, Cibola, and Sandoval Counties
A New Awakening
Bernalillo County/Albuquerque
Albuquerque Behavioral Health
Bernalillo County/Albuquerque
Canyon Light
City of Alamogordo, County of Otero
Community Education Centers
Los Lunas, NM & Albuquerque
Cottonwood Clinical Services
San Juan County
Crossroads for Women
Valencia and Bernalillo Counties
Eagles Unlimited
All of New Mexico
Human Resource Development Ass.
Colfax, Taos, Mora, San Miguel, Rio Arriba Counties
Interfaith Leap
All Counties and Cities of New Mexico
Journeys/Paso Nuevo
Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia Counties
La Clinica De Familia (La Frontera)
Las Cruces, NM
La Posada
Albuquerque
Nava Counseling Services
Las Cruces, NM
NM Solutions
Albuquerque
PMS
Counties:  San Juan, McKinley, Cibola, Socorro, Luna, Otero, Eddy
The Life Link
Santa Fe County
Transition For Living
Bernalillo County
Valle Del Sol
Raton, Taos, Espanola, Bernalillo pueblo, Grants, Moriarty, and Los Lunas


CONTACT: LUCY RIVER, POLICY & LEGISLATIVE OUTREACH DIRECTOR: 505.259.4743


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