SMART Training and TA Initiative

Training and Technical Assistance Opportunity on Sex Offender Management for Judges and Their Agency Partners

The problem of sex offending has garnered significant concern and attention in recent years. The impact sexual victimization can have on victims and families, the fear these crimes generate in the public, and the unique risks and needs posed by sex offenders have led to more concerted efforts to develop specialized ways to manage known offenders as a means to prevent future sexual victimization.

The dynamics of sexual victimization and sex offending are multifaceted. Responding effectively to sex offending requires involvement from a wide range of disciplines and agencies. Jurisdictions across the country have recognized clearly that the effective management of sex offenders is more than just supervision and treatment: rather, it demands the thoughtful integration of these and other management components (including ensuring effective investigation, adjudication, and sentencing; assessment; reentry; supervision; treatment; and registration and notification) and, perhaps as importantly, ongoing collaboration among those who are responsible for carrying out these activities. As such, strategies to address these issues should involve the key agencies, organizations, entities, and individuals who have a stake and role in adult and juvenile sex offender management.

With funding from the Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Sex Offender Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) through its FY2011 Comprehensive Approaches to Sex Offender Management Training and Technical Assistance Program, The National Judicial College (NJC) and the Center for Effective Public Policy’s Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM) are very pleased to announce the availability of training and technical assistance to courts and their partners as a means of enhancing sex offender management efforts within the Comprehensive Approaches to Sex Offender Management (CASOM) model. This assistance will be offered in the forms of:

  • Multi-disciplinary training events to be provided in local jurisdictions regarding the Comprehensive Approach to Sex Offender Management (CASOM) model; and
  • Targeted technical assistance to address specific issues in order to support the efforts of the courts and their partners in enhancing sex offender management efforts.

The training and technical assistance will be conducted during 2014 and 2015.

Multidisciplinary Training Events

Description

Representatives from CSOM and potential project partners will deliver regional training sessions to multidisciplinary audiences seeking to advance their sex offender management efforts and further court-based collaborations with other key stakeholders. The NJC/CSOM training curriculum, Sentencing and Management of Sex Offenders, will be used as a primary foundation for these multidisciplinary training events, and additional sex offender management training curricula developed by CSOM will also be used to form the substantive basis of the multidisciplinary trainings. These curricula feature specialized information regarding the key components and principles of the Comprehensive Approach to Sex Offender Management (CASOM) model, such as investigation, prosecution, and sentencing; assessment; supervision; treatment; reentry; multidisciplinary collaboration; and victim centeredness.

Because the multidisciplinary training events are designed to provide an overview of the CASOM model and the importance of collaboration between the courts and other key stakeholders, attendance by the judiciary and other court representatives in the jurisdiction is a pre-requisite. Representation from other key disciplines vital to effective sex offender management is also expected, including supervision, treatment, law enforcement, victim advocacy, and other key partners as defined by each jurisdiction. The multidisciplinary training events are proposed to be one day in length and will consist of a combination of didactic and interactive presentations and activities/opportunities to promote cross-discipline learning and information-sharing (e.g., problem solving clinics, panels highlighting local practices and resources). Up to 75 participants per session will be permitted to attend.

Timing of the Multidisciplinary Training and What to Expect

This project is seeking jurisdictions to receive a multidisciplinary training event on sex offender management. These training events are anticipated to occur between August 2014 and August 2015.

Shortly after jurisdictions are chosen to participate in the multidisciplinary training, a project staff person from CSOM will contact each site to begin the training planning process. The specific dates of each training session will be determined by Center staff in consultation with the individual sites that are selected. It is our goal to tailor each of these training events to meet the individual needs of the selected jurisdictions. As such, a small group of stakeholders led by the judiciary from each participating jurisdiction will be expected to work closely with CSOM staff to prepare for the training and to better ensure that the training will be responsive to the specific needs and interests of each judicial audience and their key partners.

Participants will be expected to complete a brief post-training questionnaire designed to assess the potential impact of the training, and identify ongoing needs or issues of the participants.

Eligibility and Cost Sharing

Any state, county, or tribal jurisdiction that is interested in enhancing judicial decision making and the justice system’s responses to these challenging cases is eligible to apply for this assistance. Ideally, applicants would be from courts who were previously represented at one of the three NJC regional training events for judges.

In order to maximize the limited resources associated with this training opportunity and in the spirit of collaboration, limited cost sharing with the project will be required.

The costs associated with the training that will be covered by the grant project include:

  • Faculty and staff per diem and travel;
  • Faculty consulting fees; and
  • The development and duplication of participant materials.

The costs associated with the training to be covered by the selected local jurisdictions include:

  • An appropriate training location that includes a plenary room;
  • Participant per diem and travel (e.g., mileage, meals, hotel charges), as necessary; and
  • Refreshments and/or meals at the training (if deemed appropriate by the hosting grantee).

Selection Process

Ten jurisdictions will be selected for participation. All interested states, counties, or tribal jurisdictions are encouraged to apply; the greatest weight will be placed on those applicants who most effectively respond to each of the specific items and questions detailed in the “How to Apply” section of the training application.

Technical Assistance

Type and Scope of Technical Assistance

Technical assistance in this area is directed to courts and criminal justice professionals interested in improving their management of and skills critical to achieving successful outcomes with sex offense cases.  Requests for assistance with developing enhanced sex offender management practices may include:

  • Exploring key decision points in court processing of sex offense cases and the ways in which quality specialized assessments can inform judicial decision-making and post-sentencing decisions.
  • Assisting judges in gaining a practical understanding of contemporary management strategies and the ways in which sentencing decisions, including imposing specialized conditions, can support post-sentencing management on a case-by-case basis.
  • Establishing collaborative multidisciplinary teams that include the judiciary, other court representatives, and probation/parole personnel, treatment providers, and other stakeholders outlined in the Comprehensive Approaches to Sex Offender Management (CASOM) model.
  • Obtaining an understanding of sex offense courts as an specialized strategy, and the processes associated with implementing them.
  • Assessing local sex offender management policies and practices, with an emphasis on the courts and probation/parole agencies, to determine strengths, gaps, and needs.
  • Prioritizing identified challenges (e.g., less than optimal collaboration, limited use of sex offender-specific risk assessment tools to inform judicial decision-making, non-specialized supervision conditions).
  • Developing action plan(s) to facilitate alignment of sex offender management  policies and practices with research-supported and promising approaches.