The method used in Maricopa County (Ariz.) to manage sex offenders in the community is presented as an example of an innovative and replicable approach to managing sex offenders.
The results of a telephone survey of probation and parole officers, conducted as part of NIJ-sponsored research on sex offender management, revealed that one of the difficulties of managing these offenders is that they require more time than other offenders. The Maricopa County Probation Department Sex Offender Unit has addressed this concern by hiring one sex offender surveillance officer for every two specialized probation officers. In this way, the unit has institutionalized a community response to the need for regular, ongoing, out-of-office monitoring for this offender population. Supervision resources are prioritized based on the offender's risk of reoffending. Officers use two-way radios and call a 24-hour dispatch service at every stop. Procedures have been developed to assist officers who do not report the completion of a visit within a certain amount of time. The polygraph is used as a supervision tool, because constant monitoring is impossible. Surveillance officers have taken the time to establish good working relationships with police officers in these areas. The authors are a probation officer and a surveillance officer in Maricopa County. Suggested qualities for surveillance officers, questions that other jurisdictions should answer when beginning a new program for sex offenders, footnotes, and 5 references
Program Description (Model)
Date Published: January 1, 1996