January 30, 2015

Judge Thompson reveals SOISP

1-29-2012 West Virginia:

WILLIAMSON - The Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Program (SOISP) requires extended supervision for sexual offenders, especially those convicted of crimes against children. Mingo County was one of the first counties in the pilot program. The Containment Model, a provision to supervise sex offenders under the Child Protection Act of 2006 was established as a pilot program in September 2008.

Mingo County Circuit Judge Miki Thompson is a huge advocate of the SOISP. Thompson pointed out that when she was a prosecutor sex offenders would be sentenced and when the jail term was up they would be placed on regular probation. Now, with SOISP, they are placed on a very specialized probation that is more intensive and controlled. Thompson’s goal is to have the communities feel safe and protected from sex-offenders.

“This program is so intensive and so controlled it is the only way I feel the public would be safe with these people out in our communities.” Thompson said. “The specialized probation controls the reading material, monitoring, and internet access, if any, made available to the sex-offender.”

Each sex offender undergoes a Sex Offender Treatment Need and Progress Scale (SOTNPS) assessment and a polygraph. Once the assessment and polygraph are completed a determination will be made to decide if the sex offender poses a threat to the community, is being deceitful, or portrays behavior that causes concerns. If concerns are present the sex offender will be placed on maximum supervision for 6 months and placed on electronic monitoring using the global positioning system (GPS).

The sex offender will have four or more face to face visits in a month with the assigned parole officer. There will be group treatments with a specialized provider and the parole officer may be present at any group session of their choosing.

Polygraph examinations will be no less than one and no more than five per year. An incomplete polygraph result could cause the sex offender to violate parole and be returned to the releasing authority.

The living arrangements are extensive; there is a 1,000 foot restriction on schools and play grounds. There cannot be any minor children in the home. The parole officer will visit and approve the living arrangements.

There are many restrictions placed on employment, a position cannot be maintained close to a child care facility, there are no door to door sales, no delivery positions, no employment can be held at any park and no participation in local Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts.

Caren Bills was appointed Deputy Director of the Division of Probation Services in September 2008. Bills was previously the Chief Probation Officer in Putnam County and has worked as a probation officer in West Virginia since 1991.

Bills explains the program and it’s intensity defining the requirements not only of the probation officers but the extensive plan the sex offenders must follow.

Bills refers to the probation officers as ‘Intensive Supervision Officers’ who work out of their cars, work non-traditional hours and carry smaller case loads. The officers are always on the road and are provided with the necessary tools such as laptops and phones.

The program was developed under the leadership of Justice Robin Jean Davis when she was Chief Justice in 2006 and 2007. Her support was crucial in refining the vision of the supervision protocol. Her work was a continuation of her interest in protecting children in our communities during her “Year of the Child” in 2006 and “Year of the Child, Too” in 2007. ..Source.. by Lil Felix

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