The Network held its first meeting on May 18, 1995. The conception was a result of a meeting between two probation officers from different counties who do group supervision of sex offenders. They thought it would be great to meet on a regular basis with others from around the state that do group supervision.
The intent of the The Network was for POs and therapists who were involved in group supervision of sex offenders to meet and 1.) Exchange ideas; 2.) Offer each other support; and 3.) Serve as a central place for other jurisdictions to learn about the different ways to do group supervision.
Therapists and case managers from Minnesota Correctional Facility-Moose Lake attended the second Network meeting. They pointed out the need for those working in the Institutions to know what is going on in the various communities to better prepare inmates for their release. The Network now has members from Community Corrections Departments, State Institutions where sex offender treatment is offered, Community based Sex Offender Treatment Programs, Half-way houses, and others who work with sex offenders. Anyone who works with sex offenders is welcome to become a part of The Network.
The Network meets quarterly throughout the state. Future times and places are agreed upon at each meeting. The meetings tend to be on Fridays and are a daylong event. One-half of the meeting is devoted to business, the sharing of information, updates of programs, legislative happenings, dialogue and support. The other half of the meeting is a more formalized training on specific programs and/or issues.
The Department of Corrections Risk Assessment/Community Notification Unit provides support services to The Network in the form of Support Staff, mailings, statistics and training.
The Network members do not pay dues. Members are encouraged to be active in of the Minnesota Corrections Association (MCA) and/or Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) including the local chapter - MNATSA. These organizations are viewed as the main organizations in touch with current local corrections and sex offender treatment issues. The Network participates in regular dialogue with the MCA legislative and Adult Justice committees and in 1996 was extremely grateful for the support of the MCA lobbyists in communicating our concerns with the Community Notification legislation.
The Network members have found several points of common belief. The following are some of the programs and concepts supported and encouraged by The Network:
Specialized probation/parole caseloads for supervision of sex offenders
Group supervision of sex offenders
Group based treatment of sex offenders
Partnership between corrections, treatment, law enforcement, legislators and the community in a holistic treatment approach for the offender and their family
Education of Judges, Attorneys, Policy makers, and the Community in order to promote public safety and decrease the number of victims of sexual abuse
Avoidance of Alford pleas for sex offenders
Therapeutic use of polygraphs and phallometric assessments for high-risk offenders
Polygraphs as a supervisory tool for probation and parole agents
In addition to continuing to provide statewide networking and support for members, The Network is working on the following goals for the future:
Internet accessibility for case consultation and information exchange;
Statewide sex offender services directory;
Equal access of treatment funding for all offenders, including educating and lobbying health insurance companies;
Centralized statistical information of all sex offenders statewide.
To become part of The Network and/or be placed on the mailing list please send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 651-431-5886.