PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR OR ACTIVITY
Managing convicted sex offenders in the community poses extremely difficult challenges for parole and probation officers. Linn County has experienced an increasing number of sex offenders released from prison to the community. As of November 2015, Linn County had supervised 221 sex offenders. The challenge to the community corrections agency is how to treat this population in an efficient and effective manner, such that further sexual abuse is prevented and individuals learn to manage their deviant interests.
IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY
No other category of crime evokes more fear and public outrage than sex offenses, and few communities want convicted sex offenders living in their area. However, the majority of known sex offenders are not in prison, and most of those who are will eventually be released.
The Linn County Community Corrections’ Adult Sex Offender Program provides assessment, treatment, and aftercare for adults who experience a range of sexual behavioral problems of varying degrees. The program is administered by a sex offender therapist, and the probation and parole officers are treated as members of the treatment team.
An individual risk level and treatment needs assessment is conducted using a structured clinical interview, relevant assessment tools, and self-reported responses to questionnaires. After completion of the assessment, recommendations are made regarding treatment. If treatment will be provided by the program, a treatment plan is provided for the client with his/her involvement. Of prime importance are community safety and the needed level of treatment for each client.
Therapy is based on a cognitive-behavioral, developmental theoretical framework using a psycho-educational approach. Written homework assignments, skill-building exercises, journal keeping, and practical application of treatment knowledge and new skills are all part of helping clients internalize treatment to their daily lives.
Treatment sessions are provided through individual and group formats. The structured therapy group typically lasts 18-24 months. The individual is then placed on a relapse prevention plan.
When a client is ready for discharge, a closure meeting is scheduled to address important aftercare planning and any concerns. Supervising professionals receive a written termination report, including an assessment of present risk and recommendations for continued support. Clients receive a certificate of achievement in their closing group session.
BASED ON RESEARCH
- Risk and needs assessment tools
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
The contract for sex offender therapy is $3,000/month and the cost of the program per offender is $150.
Data is unavailable due to the fact this treatment program began in July 2015. There are approximately 30 male and female offenders receiving community-based sex offender treatment in this particular program.
CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS
- To decrease and control deviant sexual interests
- To accept responsibility for all harmful behaviors
- To change beliefs and thinking that support abusive behavior
- To develop adaptive and non-abusive sexual functioning
- To solve non-sexual problems in non-sexual ways
- To develop a new set of internal/external controls that promote relapse prevention
A multi-disciplinary approach is essential to the treatment of individuals who have engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviors. Weekly staffing meetings with the treatment provider, Probation Officer, and Department of Human Services are recommended to discuss a client’s progress and presenting issues. In an ideal world, groups would comprise offenders with similar risk levels and each offender would have an individualized treatment plans.