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How Can Citizens Help Support The Management Of Sex Offenders In Communities?


It is important for citizens to understand the role of sex offender management teams in their communities and support their efforts to responsibly manage these offenders.  Community education efforts should be designed to help citizens:

  • Assist criminal justice agencies in monitoring am offender's behavior and actions.  This is not to place community members in a supervisory role, but to empower citizens to participate in community safety planning and to support the creation of an environment in which the offender is most likely to succeed without risk of reoffense.

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  • Use available channels for expressing concerns.  If community members have a concern about a particular sex offender, this information should be brought to the attention of the offender's probation or parole officer immediately.  If there is not a satisfactory response, citizens should call the officer's supervisor.  Attempts by citizens to confront, harass, or shame a sex offender into compliance can have unintended, negative consequences.  Citizen concerns should always be addressed through the official criminal justice system.

  • Accept that sex offenders will and do live in communities.  It is not feasible for every community to incarcerate all sex offenders for life.  Therefore, we must recognize that sex offenders will live among us and safety is best served by responding to that fact.

  • Understand that safely supervising sex offenders in communities is complex.  The strategies that are emerging as promising for preventing individual offenders from reoffending are not simple. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution that will end sexual assault.

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  • Citizens should be encouraged to refrain from ostracizing sex offenders or their families.  When sex offenders or their families are ostracized, the result can only their progress in treatment and may in fact jeopardize their willingness to comply with the very conditions of supervision that are most likely to reduce their likelihood for reoffense.

  • Encourage each and every community member to educate him or herself and loved ones about the dangers of sexual assault and in particular about child sexual assault (see NCMEC Child Protection information brochure).  As was discussed previously, many of us hold fears about sexual assault that are based on misconceptions.  In order for citizens to most effectively protect themselves, it is important that they clearly understand who is at risk and how best they can be protected.

Information contained on this page is reproduced from or links to the Center for Sex Offender Management, with permission. Reproduction herein of this information is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement or adoption by the State of New Jersey, or its officers, employees or agents.

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