CHENANGO COUNTY – County probation officer, C.J. Hose, who works with sex offenders, discussed the details of sex offender probation.
According to Hose, it is rare for sex offenders who have committed forcible rape or who have committed a sex offense against an adult to be on probation. He said those types of offenders typically are sentenced to prison. “Most of the offenders I work with have offended against children,” said Hose.
Hose admitted this was most likely due to the prosecution issues with child sex offense cases, like protecting the child from having to testify as a witness and be further traumatized.
“Everyone tries to look out for the victim, especially children. No one wants them to have to relive everything on the stand. Sitting on the witness stand can be very stressful,” he said.
“Sex offender probation is more stringent,” said Hose. “Most other crimes require five years of probation for felonies and three years for misdemeanors. Sex offenders are typically required to 10 years instead of five for a felony conviction, or six years instead of three for a misdemeanor conviction.”
“The scrutiny sex offenders undergo is strenuous. Each sex offender has different terms and conditions tailored to the individual by the judge, which includes restrictions on the types of places they can work, regular monitoring of their electronic devices and where they can live,” he added.
Hose said he randomly checks up on the sex offenders he works with, visiting them one or more times a week – or at least making monthly contact, depending on the offender. He said he also looks at their electronic devices anywhere from three times to 20 times per week, depending on what is “going on with an individual.”
“Sex offenders are typically not allowed to look at any type of pornography or make any homemade pornography. They are not allowed to use any social media sites, which we monitor often. They can’t post on YouTube or have a Facebook account. Facebook is a big one,” said Hose.
“That especially includes dating sites like Grinder or Tinder,” he added.
If a sex offender is dating someone or has a child, Hose said it is a long, tedious process to get the offender integrated into the family. He said the probation office, mental health and sex offender counselors are involved in the process.
“There is a special accreditation process that counselors and the probation officer go through with the significant other. The sex offender and person he is dating have to be very open about their dating and sex life. Once an offender keeps any secrets, red flags go up,” said Hose.
In order to further ensure sex offenders are being honest, Hose said Chenango County acquired a polygraph in 2013, so sex offenders could be polygraphed at least once a year. “It may be more if something comes up,” he said.
Regarding rehabilitation, he said each sex offender is required to participate in both group and individual treatment, which is typically scheduled once a week but varies depending on the individual.