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Feasibility Study into Use of Offender Management Software for PA Sex Offenders

The Justice Center is investigating whether offender management software that monitors and enforces acceptable internet use for sex offenders can be successfully implemented alongside the PA Board of Probation and Parole’s current supervision procedures.

Project Team

  • Principal Investigator: Ian Elliott, Ph.D. (iae1@psu.edu)
  • Co-Principal Investigator: Gary Zajac, Ph.D.

About the Project

  • Restrictions on release for sex offenders can include limiting or revoking access to communications technologies, such as the internet, which can diminish their ability to develop an offense-free life.
  • There is a need for a system that allows sex offenders full access to communications technologies, but with adequate monitoring in place that eliminates the perception of anonymity and provides guardianship and accountability.
  • Securus offender management software (OMS), when installed on a machine, allows agents to enforce acceptable use policies through real-time monitoring of the user's PC for prohibited words and phrases, both online and offline.

Research Questions

  • Can OMS be successfully implemented alongside current PA Board of Probation and Parole (PABPP) supervision procedures?
  • Do agents and offenders find OMS a user-friendly method by which to provide internet access?
  • Is there capacity for adequate data organization in support of further implementation and evaluation?

Project Details

  • 20 - 30 adult sex offenders from the caseloads of 2 or 3 suitable PABBP agents will have OMS installed on a computer for their use. Agents will remotely monitor those machines via OMS for serious and minor violations of acceptable use.

Implications

  • Results will provide conclusions about whether or not OMS has ongoing benefit for the PABPP, and provide further information for the design of a larger scale evaluation.

Final Report