For immediate release: Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Separating myths from facts about sex offenders to enhance community safety
State-sponsored training on Long Island targets community leaders, policy makers, victims’ advocates and law enforcement officials
Community leaders, policy makers, victims’ advocates and law enforcement officials from throughout Long Island will attend state-sponsored trainings today and tomorrow designed to enhance public safety by improving the way sex offenders are managed in their communities.
The Office of Sex Offender Management at the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) is sponsoring two trainings: one today at the William H. Rodgers Building #20/North County Complex in Hauppauge, Suffolk County and the other tomorrow at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, Nassau County. More than 150 professionals are scheduled to attend.
Taught by Robert McGrath, a nationally recognized authority on sex offender management who is clinical director of the Vermont Department of Corrections’ statewide network of sex offender treatment programs, the training will highlight research-based facts about sex offenders and strategies for effectively managing them in the community.
“We want to separate myths from facts and provide sound, research-based information about best practices so that law enforcement and community leaders can 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,” said Denise E. O’Donnell, Governor Paterson’s Deputy Secretary for Public Safety.
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. At these trainings on Long Island, we will provide research-based answers to frequently asked questions about offenders – Are they all the same? Can they be cured? What do we teach our children? – in an effort to help local officials better understand the issues so they can make good decisions about protecting 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.
The two trainings on Long Island are part of a series of eight sponsored across the state this month by the Office of Sex Offender Management. The six other trainings targeted mental health professionals and probation officers who work with juvenile sex offenders, and parole and probation officers who supervise sex offenders.
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.