Colorado Sex Offender Management Board Working to Strategically Revise Standards and Guidelines

(Lakewood, CO, June 9, 2017) -- The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) is nearing the finish line on a multi-year strategic plan to implement recommendations on how to improve and update Colorado’s Standards and Guidelines for the treatment and supervision of adults and juveniles who have committed sexual offenses.

The SOMB began the strategic action plan process in 2014 and expects to complete final work by December 2017. 

Created by statute in 1992, the SOMB is a 25-member volunteer board made up of key stakeholders involved in the treatment and management of sex-offenders. The SOMB was mandated to develop separate Standards and Guidelines for the evaluation, treatment, and supervision of adult sex offenders and juveniles who have committed sexual offenses. The purpose of these Standards and Guidelines are twofold:

  1. Protect victims and safeguard the public against future sexual crimes
  2. Foster the rehabilitation of offenders, reduce their likelihood of recidivism, and enable their successful re-entry into society.

“The Standards and Guidelines aren’t punitive, but rather preventative and palliative,” explained Chris Lobanov-Rostovsky, Division of Criminal Justice liaison to the SOMB. “They outline research-based best practices to ensure that the teams who are treating and managing sex offenders are doing so in the manner that is most likely to result in success. Success means preventing these individuals from committing additional crimes and helping them become productive members of society.” 

The first adult Standards and Guidelines were published in 1996, and have been regularly updated over the past 20 years to stay current with research, best practice, and applicable court rulings in the field. Since 2011, the SOMB has maintained the current Standards and Guidelines as an online, living document -- i.e., updates are implemented as soon as the Board has approved them, rather than on an annual basis.  The board published the first Juvenile Standards and Guidelines in 2002 and have revised them several times since.

In 2013, the Colorado legislature commissioned an External Evaluation of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board Standards and Guidelines, which provided a number of recommendations to improve efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and public safety; the recommendations focused on the importance of individualizing treatment based on risk levels for re-offending and the treatment needs of the offender. In response to the evaluation, and after conducting focus groups with stakeholders, the SOMB established a strategic action plan in 2014.

Since creation of the strategic plan, the 14 active committees of the SOMB have carefully examined and recommended revisions to policy and the Standards and Guidelines. The SOMB employs a rigorous revision process, including Committee review of current research and best practices and Committee recommendations for modification of the Standards and Guidelines, followed by deliberation by the full Sex Offender Management Board, public comment, and finally voting and ratification by the Board. All SOMB Committee and Board meetings are open to the public, and stakeholders may provide input at all stages of the process. 

As of early June 2017, the SOMB has completed the following revisions to the Adult Standards and Guidelines: 
•    Introduction and Guiding Principles
•    Section 1.00 on Presentence Investigations
•    Section 2.00 on Evaluation
•    Section 4.00 on Provider Qualifications
•    Section 8.00 on Victim Centeredness
•    Section 9.00 on Continuity of Care
•    And select portions of the Section 5.00 on Supervision, Section 6.00 on Polygraph, and the Lifetime Supervision Criteria. 

In addition, the SOMB has completed the following revisions to the Juvenile Standards and Guidelines (statutory mandate added in 2000): 
•    Guiding Principles
•    Definitions
•    Section 4.00 on Provider Qualifications
•    Section 6.00 on Supervision
•    Section 7.00 Polygraph
•    Section 9.00 on Informed Supervision
•    Section 10.00 on Victim Centeredness
•    and Section 11.00 on Continuity of Care. 

You can read a detailed explanation of these revisions in the SOMB 2017 Legislative Report.

The SOMB intends to complete work on all revisions to the Adult Standards and Guidelines in Sections 3.00 on Treatment, 5.00 on Supervision, and 6.00 on Polygraph by December 2017. As of that date, the SOMB anticipates it will have fully addressed all of the Standards and Guidelines as mandated by the Legislature. In doing so, the SOMB will have achieved a current, up-to-date, evidence-based set of Standards and Guidelines for the state of Colorado in keeping with its statutory mandates to prevent sex offenders from reoffending while enhancing victim protection and community safety (16-11.7-101, C.R.S.).