Sex Offender Protocol Offers Additional Tools

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) released a new supervision protocol for individuals with developmental disabilities who are convicted sex offenders. These protocols offer additional tools to support individuals with developmental disabilities who are sex offenders,and the communities in which they live.

“The health and welfare of those we support and the communities that they live in are our main priority,” said John Trunk, Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board (Summit DD) Superintendent.

“Individuals with developmental disabilities who are classified as sex offenders are subject to the same laws as any other sex offenders and already have individualized plans that aid in their successful treatment,” Trunk continued. “These protocols offer additional tools from the best of what’s available to enhance our current supervision practices and ensure consistency across residential settings and providers.”

The protocols were the result of a workgroup that convened in August 2013, comprised of experts from around the state, including representatives from Summit County. The group was tasked to review current practices used by county boards of developmental disabilities to develop supervision levels for individuals with developmental disabilities who are convicted sex offenders; identify challenges when working with this group of individuals; review available resources; and determine recommendations to assist in determining the level of supervision needed.

The group’s recommendations and tools, designed to enhance the current person-centered planning process, include:

  • Develop a protocol for assessments.  This includes a description of who is qualified to perform the assessments, the type of information the assessments should obtain, and how to use the information to develop an Individual Service Plan (ISP).
  • Develop a guide to help determine appropriate supervision levels.The guide will offer additional tools to the  Service and Support Administrators (SSAs) and others on a person’s service team in consistently determining supervision levels by examining supervision across settings.
  • Develop a tool to examine the effect of environmental factors on an individual’s treatment and progress. The environmental assessment requires SSAs and the team to examine the impact of a particular dwelling or building, as well as its location, content, and features, on an individual’s treatment or progress.
  • Develop a plan for relapse prevention. A new worksheet explains the purpose of a safety plan and the factors the SSAs and the team should consider in preparing a safety plan.
  • Develop training regarding these recommendations and tools to ensure they are useful.

Individuals with developmental disabilities who are convicted sex offenders account for less than 1% of adults supported by Summit DD. Summit DD is proactively reviewing the service plans for these individuals utilizing the additional tools that the new protocol offers.

“Individuals with disabilities who commit crimes, whether they are sex crimes or other crimes, are subject to the same laws and penalties as anyone else,” state Trunk. ”Our role is to coordinate a successful transition to the community to ensure that treatment and supports are in place to prevent a relapse and that proper supervision levels are in place for the health and safety of the individual and the community where he lives.”

DODD’s protocols were released at the same time House Bill 261 was introduced “regarding the admission of sex offenders to residential facilities for persons with developmental disabilities.” HB 261 adds an additional layer of notification and disclosure of treatment plans that are not required of sex offenders without disabilities.

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