Introduction

Paroling authorities play a critical role within correctional systems across the nation. They make thousands of decisions a year about the timing of release from prison for a significant number of offenders each year, set conditions of release and respond to violations of post-release supervision for many thousands more, and serve as important partners in contributing to public safety and the wise use of resources.

Carrying out these responsibilities effectively is both complex and critical to the effective functioning of the criminal justice system. A series of papers and other resources recently made available by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) address those complexities in detail and make the case that paroling authorities are well and uniquely positioned to assist the criminal justice system to target its resources toward risk management and recidivism reduction goals, and make significant impacts upon community safety. The National Parole Resource Center, a joint initiative of the Center for Effective Public Policy and the Association of Paroling Authorities International that is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance, offers another resource for paroling authorities, and has outlined ten "practice targets" that define ways of operating that are can assist paroling authorities to carry out their responsibilities for risk reduction goals more effectively.

Effectively managing sex offenders is among the top criminal justice policy concerns nationwide, and preventing sexual victimization is a key goal for professionals at all stages of the criminal justice system, including those who are responsible for parole decisionmaking.  The following resource package has been developed to assist paroling authorities to consider their current practices with adult sex offenders and the degree to which these practices align with the Parole Resource Center's practices targets to support risk reduction.  It is one in a series of three resource packets on special populations (i.e., justice involved-women, persons with mental health issues, and sex offenders) designed to provide representatives of paroling entities with preliminary insights to consider their practices within the context of research-supported and other promising practices, and identify areas in which additional attention may help strengthen their future practices with respect to this special offender population.  Research shows that adults who commit sex offenses differ from juveniles who engage in sexually abusive behavior in a number of ways and, as such, policies and practices should reflect these developmental and other differences and not simply mirror strategies developed for adults.  This resource packet focuses only on the adult sex offender population.

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