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Report on Safety Issues Raised by Living Arrangements for and Location of Sex Offenders in the Community

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2004
42 pages
This research study examined the living arrangements of sex offenders and the location of sex offender residences in the State of Colorado and their impact on community safety.
Sexual offending behavior and the management of sexual offenders has been an issue of concern for the State of Colorado and across the United States for years. This report presents findings from a study of issues related to public safety among probationers in the State of Colorado convicted of a sex offense who reside in a range of living situations. The study was designed to review and analyze the various types of housing in which supervised sex offenders in the community reside and whether or not there is a correlation between housing type and number and types of violations. A review of probation files was conducted to gather information on risk levels, types of residences, surveillance methods, number of violations, how quickly violations were discovered, and the method by which violations were identified on a sample of adult sex offenders under supervision, living in the Denver metropolitan area. A total of 318 adult offenders from 4 judicial districts received a probation sentence for a sexual offense between January 1, 2001, and June 30, 2002; approximately half of these offenders were included in this study (n=148). Data were extracted from the first 15 months of supervision for the sex offenders selected for the study. Findings from the study included: (1) high-risk sex offenders living in Shared Living Arrangements had significantly fewer violations than those living in other living arrangements; (2) inferred from the maps created, in urban areas a large number of schools and childcare centers are located within various neighborhoods, leaving limited areas for sex offenders to reside, and sex offenders who have committed a criminal offense while under criminal justice supervision appear to be randomly scattered throughout the study areas; and (3) sex offenders on probation living with their families in the Denver metropolitan area were more likely to have a criminal and technical violation. Recommendations based on the findings include: (1) Shared Living Arrangements should be considered a viable living situation for higher risk sex offenders living in the community; (2) placing restrictions on the location of correctionaly supervised sex offender residences may not deter reoffending and should not be considered as a method to control recidivism; (3) efforts to ensure that the sex offender’s support in the home is positive; (4) future research is needed to inform those of the suggested link between a sex offender’s support in the home and performance in the community; and (5) findings should be considered when revising the Standards and Guidelines for the Assessment, Evaluation, Treatment and Behavioral Monitoring of Adult Sex Offenders. Tables and figures