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Colorado Shared Living Arrangements: What Are They- How Do They Work? – Why Does the SOMB Use Them in Colorado

Colorado Shared Living Arrangements: What Are They- How Do They Work? – Why Does the SOMB Use Them in Colorado

The use of a Shared Living Arrangement for the successful supervision of sex offenders in the community is explained in the following promotional materials published by the state of Colorado.

A Shared Living Arrangement (SLA) is a separately contained living unit in which more than one adult sex offender in treatment resides for the alleged purpose of increased public and community safety, increased accountability, intensive containment, and more consistent treatment interventions, provided by treatment providers that are approved through the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) [of Colorado]

Shared Living Arrangements (SLAs) Fact Sheet – Approved by the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board on May 21, 2010

The SOMB touts the benefits of a SLA to include:

• Increased community and victim safety

• Required increased monitoring while living in the community (e.g. weekly schedules, accountability logs, work schedules, and journals)

• Providing for frequent inspection and monitoring by members of the community supervision team, and more intensive treatment involvement (Minnesota DOC, 2004)

• Allegedly Lowers sexual recidivism for moderate to high risk sex offenders (SOMB, 2004)

• Decreases non-sexual recidivism (SOMB, 2004)

• Decreases involvement in high risk behaviors, supervision non-compliance, and treatment contract violations (SOMB 2004; Lutze et al, 2009)

• Increases earlier detection of offender recidivism and violation behavior by treatment providers, supervising officers, and law enforcement (SOMB, 2004)

• Increases offender engagement in treatment and compliance, and provides structure and consistency for the offender (Lutze et al, 2009)

• Increases offender accountability and reduces criminal thinking, including the expectation that all offenders living in SLAs will report any violations to the Community Supervision Team (CST) (Minnesota DOC, 2004)

• Strengthens the effectiveness of the community supervision team, and provides the offender with a closer connection to treatment and the team

• Offers a creative, cost-effective way to enhance community safety.

• Provides monitored housing options for sex offenders, including reentry from the Department of Corrections and Division of Youth Corrections and residential treatment programs

• Reduces isolation, anonymity, privacy, and secrecy (Wilson et. al., 2009)

• Promotes healthy adult relationships, lifestyle, and community activities3 (Grubin, 1997; Willis, 2008)

• Is unobtrusive to neighbors, although landlords and property management professionals are always informed of the sex offense and registration requirements

• Approval of the SLA residence is based on a variety of public safety factors (SOMB 2004)

• Provides sex offenders with the type of support4 that research shows decreases criminal and technical violations (SOMB, 2004)

• Failure to comply with the terms of SLAs will likely result in removal from the SLA and arrest S.LA’s are not:

• A halfway house/community corrections program or residential treatment program

• A motel housing numerous sex offenders

• For offenders who are not amenable to or not participating in treatment5

• For offenders who are not under probation/parole supervision

• An assisted living environment for sex offenders who cannot live on their own based upon developmental disabilities or serious mental illness

• A substitute for a homeless shelter for indigent sex offenders

• An option where local ordinances prohibit certain numbers of sex offenders from residing in the same residence

Demographic Information:

• There are currently approximately 1500 adult sex offenders under community supervision in the state of Colorado (April 2010).

• There are 6 sex offense specific treatment programs that currently provide SLAs

Correlated with successful participation in treatment and community supervision. Stable housing and social support relationships contribute to reduced sexual recidivism and general criminality

Having someone significant to the offender and/or a roommate who attends treatment with the offender, has a positive relationship with the supervising officer and treatment provider, and is well versed in the offender’s supervision and treatment requirements.

Currently, a number of local jurisdictions have ordinances prohibiting multiple offenders from living in the same residence, thereby outlawing SLAs. This has led to a disproportionate number of SLAs being located in Denver, including those offenders who are coming from other jurisdictions.

Sex offenders living in SLA’s pay for their own housing, treatment, and monitoring services.