Division of Parole and Probation Reminds Sexual Offenders to Be Compliant This Halloween

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Towson, MD (October 26, 2011)---Once again this year, the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation (DPP) will be monitoring certain sexual offenders and reminding them to stay away from children’s Halloween activities. Selected offenders have been sent letters and window signs indicating that they have no candy. In addition, Parole and Probation agents will be conducting home visits and working with local law enforcement in some regions across the state to ensure that offenders are compliant.

“Parole and Probation is always very proactive on Halloween,” says DPP Acting Director Patricia Vale. “Our specially trained agents are vigilant, and take their work seriously.”

Offenders are asked to keep their porch lights out, place “NO CANDY” signs in their windows, and stay away from children’s activities. Those found to be noncompliant could face sanctions for violating the terms of their supervision.

Statewide, the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation supervises approximately 65,000 men and women on parole, probation, and mandatory release supervision. These include more than 2,500 sexual offenders statewide. DPP is also responsible for sexual offenders who have been sentenced but not yet released to supervision.

Sexual offenders present specific challenges. Thanks to support from the O’Malley administration, legislation passed during the 2006 Emergency Legislative Session mandated collaborative containment (“COMET”) teams for sexual offender management COMET teams with offender-to-agent reduced caseloads of 30-to-one have been intensively trained throughout Maryland; their training included sex offender laws and relevant agency policies, victimology, treatment domains, relapse prevention, and many other subject areas.

DPP uses a special risk instrument specifically designed to assess sexual offenders to examine every single sexual offender in its system, and initially places all offenders under the highest level of supervision, which includes daily telephone contacts, weekly face-to-face meetings, mandatory treatment referrals based upon risk assessment, and at least monthly verification of compliance with all terms of supervision and Sex Offender Registry requirements. Offenders are moved to lower supervision levels only on the basis of consistent successful compliance and satisfactory risk assessment scores.

The management of sexual offenders in Maryland includes:

Clinical Polygraph Exams

These increase the accountability of sexual offenders for past behaviors, ensure compliance with current supervision, and serve as a deterrent.

Computer Monitoring

Software may be installed on an offender’s computer allowing an agent to monitor or restrict access to particular activities and locations. This allows more accurate risk assessment and potentially prevents victimization. Agency policy requires computer monitoring for any sexual offender release from the Division of Correction who is a child sexual offender required to register with the Md. Sex Offender Registry.

Electronic Tracking

GPS tracking may be used around-the-clock by DPP as required. Curfews may be established and monitored; agents may set geographic exclusions and boundaries; alerts are generated when an offender violates the rules.

A copy of the letter certain sexual offenders will receive from Parole and Probation is included with the attached release. They will also receive a plain “No Candy” sign for their windows.