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Early Termination of Colorado Sex Offender Probation – How It Works – To understand how the process for early termination of a lifetime sentence to Colorado Sex Offender Probation – you must apply two different sources of law and regulation.
I. The FIRST SOURCE are the Colorado Statutes that govern sentences to Lifetime Supervision for Colorado Sex Offenders.
II. THE SECOND SOURCE are what are termed the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) Guidelines.
What follows are the actual laws and guidelines with analysis in brackets to help you understand the principles and procedures involved. [HMS – …]
Here is the relevant section of the law as of 2013 that provides for sentences to lifetime probation supervision for sex offenders:
[HMS – This law provides for the term of lifetime probation for class 2,3 and 4 felonies.]
(2) (a) The district court having jurisdiction, based on consideration of the evaluation conducted pursuant to section 16-11.7-104, C.R.S., and the factors specified in section 18-1.3-203, may sentence a sex offender to probation for an indeterminate period of at least ten years for a class 4 felony or twenty years for a class 2 or 3 felony and a maximum of the sex offender’s natural life; except that, if the sex offender committed a sex offense that constitutes a crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406, or committed a sex offense that makes him or her eligible for sentencing as a habitual sex offender against children. C.R.S. § 18-1.3-1004 Other Relevant Colorado State Laws That Apply – § 18-1.3-1008
[HMS – The next section requires that intensive supervision probation is required in these cases.]
(1) If the court sentences a sex offender to probation, in addition to any conditions imposed pursuant to section 18-1.3-204, the court shall require as a condition of probation that the sex offender participate until further order of the court in the intensive supervision probation program created pursuant to section 18-1.3-1007
[HMS – This next section provides the standards that apply for sex offenders seeking early termination of their probation who are serving their sentences in a Community Corrections Program.]
(1.5) If the court as a condition of probation sentences a sex offender to a residential community corrections program, following completion of the minimum period of sentence specified by the court, the community corrections program shall notify the judicial department when it determines that the sex offender has successfully progressed in treatment and would not pose an undue threat to the community if allowed to live in the community while continuing on intensive supervision probation.
The community corrections program shall base its determination on the criteria established by the management board pursuant to section 18-1.3-1009. The judicial department shall file the recommendations of the community corrections program with the court. Upon order of the court, the sex offender shall be released from the community corrections program, and the court shall order the sex offender, as a condition of probation, to participate in the intensive supervision program created in section 18-1.3-1007 . The sex offender shall participate in such program until further order of the court.
[HMS – The next several sections are the most important for the early termination of Colorado Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Probation. The law requires the Courts to set a hearing at the first possible date after the minimum lifetime probation sentence has been served.]
(2) On completion of twenty years of probation for any sex offender convicted of a class 2 or 3 felony or on completion of ten years of probation for any sex offender convicted of a class 4 felony, the court shall schedule a review hearing to determine whether the sex offender should be discharged from probation.
[HMS – The following language creates the ‘undue threat” test that is applied by the Court to determine whether termination of the Colorado sex offender’s probation will occur.]
In making its determination, the court shall determine whether the sex offender has successfully progressed in treatment and would not pose an undue threat to the community if allowed to live in the community without treatment or supervision.
[HMS – The next section mandates that the probation officer and the treatment provider make recommendations on whether the sex offender should be discharged from probation.]
The sex offender’s probation officer and treatment provider shall make recommendations to the court concerning whether the sex offender has met the requirements of this section such that he or she should be discharged from probation.
[HMS – The section that follows requires the Court to take the recommendations of the probation officer and the treatment provider into account in making it’s decision – but their recommendations are NOT binding on the judge’s decision.]
(3) (a) In determining whether to discharge a sex offender from probation pursuant to this
section, the court shall consider the recommendations of the sex offender’s probation officer and treatment provider. The recommendations of the probation officer and the treatment provider shall be based on the criteria established by the management board pursuant to section 18-1.3-1009.
If the court chooses not to follow the recommendations made, the court shall make findings on the record in support of its decision.
[HMS – If you lose – the Court is mandated to review the decision denying the termination of probation once every three years… at each subsequent hearing new reports from the probation officer and the treatment provider must be provided.]
(b) If the court does not discharge the sex offender from probation pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (3), the court shall review such denial at least once every three years until it determines that the sex offender meets the criteria for discharge as specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3).
At each review, the sex offender’s probation officer and treatment provider shall make recommendations, based on the criteria established by the management board pursuant to section 18-1.3-1009, concerning whether the sex offender should be discharged. C.R.S. § 18-1.3-1008
[HMS – This law applies to those on Parole AND Probation who are seeking early termination of their Colorado sex offender probation or parole.]
(1) On or before July 1, 1999, the management board, in collaboration with the department of corrections, the judicial department, and the parole board, shall establish:
(a) The criteria by and the manner in which a sex offender may demonstrate that he or she would not pose an undue threat to the community if released on parole or to a lower level of supervision while on parole or probation or if discharged from parole or probation. The court and the parole board may use the criteria to assist in making decisions concerning release of a sex offender, reduction of the level of supervision for a sex offender, and discharge of a sex offender.
(b) The methods of determining whether a sex offender has successfully progressed in treatment; and
(c) Standards for community entities that provide supervision and treatment specifically designed for sex offenders who have developmental disabilities. At a minimum, the standards shall determine whether an entity would provide adequate support and supervision to minimize any threat that the sex offender may pose to the community
5.214 The supervising officer/agent shall confer with the multidisciplinary team (if still convened) prior to requesting early termination of supervision. Early termination may be possible in rare cases, but only after successful completion of treatment and fulfillment of court requirements.
Successfully Discharged – An adult sexual offender who has fulfilled all the terms and conditions of their probation or parole. This encompasses all terminations that were not revoked for either a technical violation or a new crime, death, terminated as AWOL, closed for administrative reasons, subject to interstate compacts, transferred, deported or released due to a court order or on appeal.
Colorado Standards and Guidelines
3.010 In order to demonstrate that the sex offender would not pose an undue threat to the community if placed on a lower level of supervision while on probation, he or she must meet the reduction in supervision criteria in each of the following areas of focus (For the purpose of these Criteria, reduction in level of supervision while on probation means movement from Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Probation to Regular Probation). For criteria that refer to reduction in levels of supervision while on Sex Offender Intensive Supervision Probation, please refer to the Sex Offender Intensive Supervision (SOISP) Guidelines and Standards published by the Colorado Judicial Branch, Office of Probation Services.
[HMS – The criteria applied to the “undue threat” standard. ]
In order to demonstrate that the sex offender would not pose an undue threat to the community if discharged from probation, he or she must meet the discharge criteria in each of the following areas of focus:
Reduced Supervision: The treatment provider is indicating a recommendation for reduced supervision based on the following indicators of progress in treatment:
Discharge: For discharge from probation, the treatment provider must be reporting successful termination of treatment or successful progress in treatment to date and actively recommending discharge from probation. (Successful completion indicates active, consistent practice of a
Reduced Supervision: The offender can identify inconsistencies in his or her words and behavior and makes attempts to correct them. Evidence of consistency in what is said to the members of the community supervision team.
Discharge: The offender consistently displays consistency between his or her words and behavior in all areas of his life.
Reduced Supervision: The offender recognizes and terminates inappropriate relationships. The offender has establishment of some appropriate social relationships and community support. This may include a community chaperone if deemed necessary by the community supervision team.
In a situation where the offender cohabits with or is in an intimate relationship, the co-habitor or significant other must be supportive of treatment, not supportive of the offender’s denial, and be willing to participate in treatment and sex offense specific education as needed. Significant other(s) and co-habitors, should also be able to articulate the status and benefits of relationship, demonstrate an awareness of the sex offender’s criminal history including the current offense and have knowledge and awareness of the sex offender’s risk to children and potential victims.
Exceptions may be made and documented when the offender is residing in a residential facility or hospital and it would be inappropriate to disclose the offender’s history to all other residents. In such cases, the safety of the other residents shall be the determining factor regarding disclosure, not the offender’s desire for confidentiality. In no case is it appropriate to keep any information regarding the offender and his or her history from staff of any facility in which they are being treated or in which they reside.
Discharge: The sex offender shall have demonstrated, over the course of supervision, the ability to maintain age appropriate, professional and personal relationships that are non-criminal. The sex offender shall demonstrate an understanding of how positive relationships in the community have influenced non-criminal behavior and thinking.
Reduced Supervision: The offender shall maintain a stable and safe residence. A safe residence is one that limits the offender’s contact with victims, potential victims and minors and where any co-habitors are aware of the offender’s criminal history including the current offense and have knowledge and awareness of the sex offender’s risk to children and potential victims.
Discharge: The offender shall have demonstrated, over the course of supervision the ability to maintain a stable and safe residence.
Reduced Supervision: The offender shall demonstrate the ability to maintain stable and safe employment. Safe employment limits contact with victims and potential victims and allows the supervising officer to consistently locate the offender.
Discharge: The offender’s employment record shall reflect the ability to maintain stable and safe employment with no periods of willful unemployment during the past 5 years.
This criteria applies only to those offenders who are recommended for substance abuse treatment.
Reduced Supervision: The offender has entered a recommended substance abuse treatment program and is making and maintaining consistent progress in the program. The offender has not used drugs or alcohol for at least 6 months prior to any reduction in level of supervision.
Discharge: The offender has completed any recommended substance abuse program and is actively and consistently involved in any recommended aftercare or maintenance programs.
Leisure activities engaged in or developed within the community shall be appropriate, legitimate, legal and of benefit to the sex offender. Appropriate leisure activities limit contact with victims and potential victims and allow the supervising officer to consistently locate the offender.
Reduced Supervision: Consideration for progression to a lower level of supervision will be based on sex offenders’ ability to identify appropriate leisure activities and the benefit of each activity. In addition, the offender must be able to articulate how the relapse prevention plan is used when engaging in leisure activities.
Discharge: To be considered for discharge, the sex offender must have demonstrated the ability to participate in appropriate, legitimate and legal leisure activities from which he has benefited. In addition, the offender must have demonstrated consistent use of a relapse prevention plan as needed during leisure activities
Reduced Supervision: Consideration for progression to a lower level of supervision will be based on the sex offender’s attitude, progress, participation and consistent compliance with all conditions of supervision including but not limited to the following:
Reduced Supervision: The team considers all information above and other appropriate information to make any determination regarding movement to a lower level of supervision. All team members must agree to the reduction in the level of supervision.
Discharge: In any case when an offender is being considered for recommendation of discharge from lifetime supervision, the offender must demonstrate that he or she would not pose an undue threat to the community if allowed to live in the community without supervision. The team considers all information below and other appropriate information to make any determination regarding discharge from lifetime supervision. All team members must agree to the discharge from supervision.
The supervising officer will document what criteria are met or not met at any consideration of reduction in level of supervision or discharge and the decision of the community supervision team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author – A Denver ColoradoSex Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – or call his office at 303-627-7777 during business hours – or call his cell if you cannot wait and need his immediate assistance – 720-220-2277.
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