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Colorado to Reconsider Sex Offender Laws?

It's a rarity today to hear of any plans to lighten restrictions on sex offenders. But there is talk in Denver to reconsider the treatment and other hurdles low-level sex offenders should have to face after a conviction.

On June 18, the Sex Offender Management Board is going to present their proposal to change the status quo of low-level sex offender treatment. They argue that if they succeed in getting their proposal approved, then more dangerous sex offenders will get the treatment and attention they need in order to be helped and regulated. Money would also be saved by freeing the low-level offenders from treatment and other probation obligations.

The board's proposal lays out a way that professionals can determine the danger of a low-level sex offender through a series of tests and evaluations. They would determine whether a sex offender is low-risk based on the following: 

  • Offenders eligible for lesser treatment will take a polygraph test in order for professionals to know whether the offenders being evaluated are guilty of other sex crimes or violent crimes.
  • Professionals will evaluate the offenders' behaviors in treatment and during probation and whether they've demonstrated responsibility and progress.
  • A plethysmograph test will be administered to eligible offenders. A plethysmograph test tests someone's responses to certain images. When used to determine risk in a sex offender, professionals would look at offender responses to pornographic material and whether they get excited by material criminal in nature.

The above evaluations would occur over a 15-month span of time, and according to supporting experts, would affect 8 to 10 percent of sex offenders currently in the system. Proponents of this proposal believe the changes would give low-risk offenders a better chance at life outside of the legal system and allow the system to hone in on the offenders most dangerous to society and at risk of reoffending. 

Resource

Proposal: Low-risk sex offenders could get less intensive treatment

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