U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

'Monitoring' the Sex Offender

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2005
2 pages
This article describes a course offered by the National Institute of Justice's National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC-Rocky Mountain) designed to prepare probation and parole officers to monitor sex offenders' use of computers and the Internet.
The Internet offers sex offenders access to online pornography; sex chat rooms and discussion boards; and dating services. Although sex offenders can abuse Internet access, courts generally do not restrict access. Instead, probation and parole agencies must request access to offenders' computers as a special condition of supervision at the time of sentencing or early in the supervision process. Working in cooperation with the American Probation and Parole Association, NLECTC-Rocky Mountain has developed a course to instruct probation and parole officers in how to monitor sex offenders' use of computers and the Internet. In 2004, the course was offered throughout NLECTC-Rocky Mountain's 10-State region. The hands-on course requires the use of a 30- to 40-seat computer lab for 2 days. The instructor temporarily installs computer hard drives that contain actual caches of information from sex offenders' computers, excluding child pornography. The following topics are covered in the course: understanding sex offenders and the effects of pornography, how sex offenders access information, ways in which computers can be involved in crimes, legal issues, the technical aspects of computer management, installing appropriate software and selecting text search keywords, and examining and cleaning hard drives. The monitoring strategy proposed by the course is to learn as much as possible about the offender, wipe the offender's hard drive clean, and then install monitoring software so that periodic checks of the hard drive will indicate whether the offender has committed probation/parole violations or new crimes.

Date Published: January 1, 2005