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Handbook Cover for Treatise on Internet Sex Crimes

Chapter 11:
Imprisonment


Sex Offender Management Program


SEX OFFENDER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

With the passage of the 2006 Adam Walsh Act, those with a “sex offender” public safety factor (PSF) are placed at institutions with Sex Offender Management Programs (SOMP).

SOMP consists of three components: evaluation services, during which psychologists and treatment specialists perform specialized risk and diagnostic assessments, a sex offender treatment program, either nonresidential or residential, and specialized correctional management, plans which intend to manage risk-relevant behavior. The treatment program consists of an orientation phase, a core treatment phase, and a transition phase.[1]

There are two types of SOMP treatment programs. Residential Sex Offender Treatment Programs (SOTP-R) is “a high-intensity program designed for high-risk sexual offenders.” Non-Residential Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-NR) is “a moderate-intensity program designed for low- to moderate-risk sexual offenders.” Compared to SOTP-R, SOTP-NR meets less frequently, is a shorter program, and participants live in the general population rather than a modified therapeutic community. Both programs use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a treatment model. SOMP programs also may include an individualized Correctional Management Plan (CMP), involving modifications and restrictions in property, mail, correspondence, and visitation to minimize the risk of re-offense. 

Upon sentencing, inmates with a sex offense history may be designated to a prison with a SOMP program. Inmates may also be redesignated to a SOMP facility for participation, usually following treatment referrals, specialized correctional management referrals, protective custody cases, redesignation for population management, or appropriate referrals for redesignation. The referring psychologist will determine the appropriate program level (SOTP-R or SOTP-NR), with inmates with more extensive sex offense histories assigned to SOTP-R. However, psychology staff at the DSCC and the Behavioral Management Program Coordinator or the SOMP Coordinator may make a final determination. Ultimately, both SOMP treatment programs are voluntary, and federal prisons should not impose sanctions for declining to participate.

SOMP staff include SOMP Coordinators, SOMP Psychologists, and SOMPT Treatment Specialists, all of whom have specific designated duties.

To be eligible for SOMP, the inmate must:

  • Meet the definition of a sexual offender (“Any inmate with a current or prior sexual offense conviction, or a conviction for an offense that involved a sexual element (e.g., convicted of Robbery with offense conduct that includes the rape of the victim). For purposes of this Program Statement,, criminal violations involving sexual conduct with a consenting adult (e.g., prostitution, pimping) are not sexual offenses.”)
  • Have enough time in their sentence remaining to complete the program (at least 21 months for SOTP-NR, at least 27 months for SOTP-R)
  • Have no 100- or 200-level incident reports in the last year
  • Be able to fully engage in treatment (speak English, is literate, does not suffer from a major mental disorder, demonstrates sufficient intellectual ability)
  • Sign an Agreement to Participate in Sex Offender Treatment Program form, indicating voluntary participation

Within 30 days of arrival at a SOMP institution, inmates with sexual offense histories will be interviewed by a SOMP Psychologist or Treatment Specialist. Then, there is an initial risk assessment consisting of a review of relevant documentation, a scored actuarial instrument, and the possibility of an interview to clarify and collect information. Discharge Evaluations are risk assessments that are performed on releasing sexual offenders with significant risk management issues, usually within the 12 months prior to their release. A Comprehensive Psychosexual Evaluation is performed prior to completion of the treatment plan, and includes a summary of their psychosocial/psychosexual history, an appraisal of their risk factors, and a discussion of relevant treatment targets.

Completion of a SOMP treatment program is based on a clinician’s assessment of the participant’s success in achieving their treatment objectives. Inmates are expected to remain in the program until they successfully complete all program phases, have a mastery of program skills, make a commitment to positive change, demonstrate an appropriate degree of self-disclosure, and succeed in achieving all individualized treatment goals. If the inmate does not complete the program, other outcomes include withdrawal, incomplete, and expulsion.


[1] Federal Bureau of Prisons. (2013). Program Statement: Sex Offender Programs (5324.10). https://www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/5324_010.pdf

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAM – NONRESIDENTIAL (SOTP-NR)

The Non-Residential Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-NR) involves four to six hours of psychotherapy per week, and people are typically placed in the program during the last 36 months of their sentence. The program itself typically lasts 10-12 months.

Those eligible for SOTP-NR placement are often first-time sex crime offenders. However, they will be given a risk assessment prior to placement to ensure that moderate intensity treatment is appropriate.

The SOTP-NR targets dynamic re-offense risk factors, such as: sexual self-regulation, deficits, and sexual deviancy; criminal thinking and behavior patterns; intimacy skills deficits; and emotional self-regulation deficits.[4] It addresses these risk factors through cognitive-behavioral techniques that emphasize skills acquisition and practice.

Low security level SOTP-NR locations include: FCI Seagoville (TX), FCI Englewood (CO), and FCI Elkton (OH). Medium security locations include: FCI Petersburg (VA), FCI Marianna (FL), and FCI Marion (IL). USP Tucson (AZ) is the high security location. FMC Carswell (TX) is the female location. SOMP institutions generally maintain a significant proportion (40% or more) of sexual offenders in their populations.[5]


[4] Ellis, A., & Henderson, J. M. (2019). Federal Prison Guidebook (Revision 5). James Publishing.

[5] Federal Bureau of Prisons. (2013). Program Statement: Sex Offender Programs (5324.10). https://www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/5324_010.pdf

SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT PROGRAM – RESIDENTIAL (SOTP-R)

The Residential Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP-R) involves ten to twelve hours of psychotherapy per week, and people are typically placed in the program during the last 36 months of their sentence. The program itself typically lasts 12-18 months.

Those placed in SOTP-R are often repeat sex crime offenders with a high level of sexual deviancy or hyper sexuality. However, they will be given a risk assessment prior to placement to ensure that high intensity treatment is appropriate.

The SOTP-R targets dynamic re-offense risk factors, such as: sexual self-regulation, deficits, and sexual deviancy; criminal thinking and behavior patterns; intimacy skills deficits; and emotional self-regulation deficits.[6] It addresses these risk factors through cognitive-behavioral techniques that emphasize skills acquisition and practice.

Residential Sex Offender Treatment Programs are available at USP Marion (IL) and FMC Devens (MA). SOMP institutions generally maintain a significant proportion (40% or more) of sexual offenders in their populations.[7]


[6] Ellis, A., & Henderson, J. M. (2019). Federal Prison Guidebook (Revision 5). James Publishing.

[7] Federal Bureau of Prisons. (2013). Program Statement: Sex Offender Programs (5324.10). https://www.bop.gov/policy/progstat/5324_010.pdf

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