Guiding Principles of Risk-Based Sex Offender Management

1. Sexual offending is a behavioral disorder which can be managed.

Many offenders can learn through treatment to manage their sexual offending behaviors and decrease their risk of re-offense. Such behavioral management should not, however, be considered a “cure,” and successful treatment cannot permanently eliminate the risk that sex offenders may repeat their offenses.

2. Assessment and evaluation of sex offenders is an ongoing process. Progress in treatment and level of risk are not constant over time.

The effective assessment and evaluation of sexual offenders is best seen as a process. Assessments must occur at both the entry and exit points of all sentencing options, i.e., probation, parole, community corrections and prison. In addition, assessment and evaluation must be used in any program providing treatment for sex offenders.

3. Continued monitoring of sex offenders is needed.

In the management and treatment of sex offenders there will be measurable degrees of progress or lack of progress. Because of the cyclical nature of offense patterns and fluctuating life stresses, sex offenders' levels of risk are constantly in flux. Success in the management and treatment of sex offenders cannot be assumed to be permanent. For these reasons, monitoring of risk must be a continuing process as long as sex offenders are under criminal justice supervision. Moreover, the end of the period of court supervision should not necessarily be seen as the end of dangerousness.

4. Victims have a right to safety and self-determination.

Victims have a right to determine the extent to which they will be informed of an offender’s status in the criminal justice system and the extent to which they will provide input through appropriate channels to the offender management and treatment process. In the case of adolescent or child victims, custodial adults or guardians act on behalf of the child to exercise this right, in the best interest of the victim.

5. Community safety is enhanced when there is a coordinated team response.

All relevant agencies must cooperate in planning and containment strategies of sex offenders. Sex offenders re-entering the community need comprehensive treatment, supervision, and behavioral monitoring.