Contact: Janine Kava, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8906 or (518) 275-5508 – cell
janine.kava@dcjs.ny.gov
For immediate release: Friday, March 13, 2009

Enhancing community safety through effective supervision of sex offenders
Probation, parole officers target audience for training in Columbia County on Friday

State and federal probation and parole officers today attended a day-long training to learn strategies to enhance public safety by improving the way they supervise sex offenders in the community.

The Office of Sex Offender Management at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) sponsored the training, which was held at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson and attended by more than 50 professionals from across the state, including the Capital Region, Hudson Valley and Western New York.

The training focused on the differences and similarities among offenders; how to match supervision strategies to risk offender levels; the use of supervision tools, such as GPS monitoring systems and polygraphs; and ways to work collaboratively with treatment providers and develop a community support network for offenders.

“DCJS, through its Office of Sex Offender Management, is committed to providing anyone responsible for the management and treatment of sex offenders with training and education to enhance their knowledge and skills so they can better protect their communities,” said Denise E. O’Donnell, Governor Paterson’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety.

“We want to separate myths from facts and provide sound information about best practices and research-based risk and needs assessments so that law enforcement and community stakeholders have the knowledge they need to develop effective strategies that will keep their communities safe, protect victims’ rights, prevent new sex crimes and ensure that offenders receive appropriate treatment and supervision,” Deputy Secretary O’Donnell added.

In New York State, there are approximately 4,100 sex offenders on probation, and approximately 1,000 youthful offenders on probation whose underlying offense was sexual in nature. In addition, there are approximately 1,900 sex offenders under parole supervision as of Jan. 31, 2009.

Currently, there are total of 28,406 sex offenders on the New York State Sex Offender Registry: 10,488 Level 1 offenders; 10,183 Level 2 offenders; 7,076 Level 3 offenders; and 659 offenders whose risk level designation is pending.

Established in 2007, the Office of Sex Offender Management at DCJS oversees the Sex Offender Registry, advises the Governor and Legislature on sex offender issues, establishes standards and guidelines concerning how best to supervise and manage these individuals and better protect the public, trains law enforcement and other professionals and creates community prevention and education campaigns.

“The mission of the Office of Sex Offender Management is to protect our communities and families from sex offenders,” said Luke Martland, director of the office. “As part of this mission, we conduct training for law enforcement, mental health professionals, judges and other groups all across the state. Today’s training is designed to provide probation and parole officers with information about tools and techniques that will help them effectively supervise sex offenders and protect their communities.”
 
Last year, the office sponsored approximately 70 trainings across the state that were attended by more than 3,000 individuals, including police, parole and probation officers, attorneys, treatment providers, social services professionals, elected representatives and court officials.

Today’s training was conducted by Georgia F. Cumming, a former probation and parole officer who is a nationally recognized expert on the topic of sex offender supervision. She is program director of the Vermont Department of Corrections’ integrated, statewide network of sex offender treatment programs. Cumming also led a training earlier this month for parole and probation officers who work with sex offenders in New York City.

The Office of Sex Offender Management also is hosting four other trainings this month targeting mental health professionals and probation officers who work with juvenile sex offenders. Two of those trainings were held earlier this week; the remaining two will be held on Tuesday, March 17 in New York City and Wednesday, March 18 in Dutchess County.

DCJS is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; and support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state.