May 27, 2011

Auditor: Sex offender board didn't set up program

5-27-2011 Illinois:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois board that was required by law to set up a program for monitoring sex offenders through evaluation, treatment and counseling has not done so after seven years, a report said Thursday.

Auditor General William Holland reported that the Sex Offender Management Board should have rules for tracking more than 10,000 registered sex offenders. They were first required in 2004 but there's no system yet and no timeline for establishing them.

The board's chairwoman says the board has been unable to do it because it has no authority over the Corrections Department or local probation systems which do the monitoring.

"That mandate has been an issue the board has struggled with since its inception because it lacks the tools you would need to have in order to meet that," Cara Smith said.

The Sex Offender Management Board was created in 1997 and has developed guidelines for treating and evaluating sex offenders and approves vendors that provide treatment and evaluation.

The audit results of the tracking and monitoring are supposed to be used by the board to determine the effectiveness of programs set up to treat those accused of sex crimes.

There are 10,039 sex offenders subject to such monitoring out of just under 25,000 registered sex offenders statewide, according to the Illinois State Police.

The board responded that it hasn't had staff members or money enough to develop the program.

The audit covered a two-year period ending June 30, 2010. Holland's last audit mentioned the lack of a program, too.

"All the law we passed about sex offenders don't mean anything," Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said Thursday on the House floor, demanding hearings into the matter.

Smith said the board is funded by a portion of the fee sex offenders pay to register. It receives administrative support from the attorney general's office and spent just $21,000 last year.

The board must work with lawmakers to try to redefine what its responsibilities should be in the area of monitoring progress, Smith said. ..Source.. by JOHN O'CONNOR

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