Tuesday, August 15, 2006

High Risk Sex Offender Task Force Makes Recommendations to Governor on Placing, Overseeing Sex Offenders in Communities

Legislators, law enforcement, community groups collaborate

Sacramento - Members of the California High Risk Sex Offender (HRSO) Task Force today presented Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with 10 recommendations for a statewide system to improve policies related to the placement, supervision and monitoring of high risk sex offenders in local communities to enhance public safety.

The task force was created in May 2006 by Executive Order S-08-06, and was charged with reviewing the current statutory requirements and California Department of Corrections (CDCR) policies on notifying, placing, monitoring, and enforcing parole policies with regard to high risk sex offenders. The task force, co-chaired by Assembly Members Todd Spitzer (R-Orange) and Rudy Bermudez (D-Norwalk) and CDCR Secretary (A) Jim Tilton, is composed of state and local law enforcement officials, parole representatives, victims and community groups. The task force held public hearings last week in Sacramento, Fresno and Orange County to solicit input on the issues.

"I applaud Governor Schwarzenegger for calling for the creation of this Task Force," said Secretary Tilton. "If we can adopt policies to make the management of this dangerous population better for public safety, then we must work together to do so. This department is committed to working with local law enforcement, community leaders and victims' advocacy groups to improve the policies and practices related to the placement and monitoring of sex offenders in the community."

The Task Force's recommendations include:

  • The application of a risk assessment tool to determine if an inmate is a high risk offender no later than 120 days prior to being released on parole;
  • All California inmates required to register as sex offenders and those designated as high risk must receive appropriate, specialized treatment while incarcerated;
  • Adopt improved procedures for notifying local law enforcement and victims prior to the release of a sex offender from prison;
  • Monitoring all HRSOs on parole with Global Positioning Units (GPS) units;
  • Adopt Legislative changes to the Megan’s law website to specifically identify HRSOs who are on parole and those that are being monitored by GPS;
  • The establishment of a permanent Sex Offender Management Board.
  • Directing parole oversight of HRSOs to include a four part program including, treatment, parole supervision, the use of polygraphs and victims advocacy to both monitor and modify the behavior of offenders.
Once a sex offender has served his prison term, CDCR is mandated to release him back to the community. CDCR currently oversees about 10,000 sex offenders, of which about 3,200 have been designated high risk.

"Almost all convicted sex offenders will eventually return to our communities, with a short period of time under direct supervision, either on parole, probation or conditional release," said Task Force Co-Chair Assembly Member Todd Spitzer. "It is imperative that during this period of time when sex offenders are under direct supervision, there is a comprehensive and cohesive network of interventions available to control the behavior of sex offenders and prevent recidivism and future victimization."

In June 2006, one recommendation made by the Task Force was deemed critical to public safety and, at the request of the Task Force members, was sent to the Governor immediately. The Governor subsequently issued Executive Order S-09-06 which directs the CDCR to develop a pre-release program that thoroughly evaluates all sex offenders and identifies appropriate housing prior to their release from prison. This pre-release screening should ensure compliance with state residency laws and thereby eliminate the need for "temporary housing" such as in motels or too close to a school. This recommendation is already being implemented by the CDCR's parole division.

"The placement of convicted sex offenders in our community will always be a concern for all Californians," said Task Force Co-Chair Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez. "We must be diligent in our obligation to protect communities and our children."

Click here to see the complete list of recommendations and the task force's report

California High Risk Sex Offender Task Force

  • Assembly Member Rudy Bermúdez (D-Norwalk), Co-chair
  • Assembly Member Todd Spitzer (R-Orange), Co-chair
  • James Tilton, Secretary California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitati
  • Jan Scully, District Attorney Sacramento County California District Attorneys Association
  • Ed Bonner, Sheriff Placer County California State Sheriffs Association
  • Steve Krull, Chief Livermore Police Department California Police Chiefs Association
  • Jerry Powers, President Chief Probation Officers of California
  • David Runnels Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Operations California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Jeff Fagot, Director (A) Division of Adult Parole Operations California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • Suzanne Brown-McBride Executive Director California Coalition Against Sexual Assault
  • Brenda Crowding-Johnson Parole Agent I Parole Agents Association of California Alex Padilla, President League of California Cities
  • Don Horsley, Sheriff San Mateo County California State Association of Counties