Texas is in the final stages of implementing a new program that will allow some sex offenders to deregister from the lifetime list, after an, as of yet, unspecified amount of time and counseling.Here's a little more background on the legislation authorizing the new rules from the agency's website:
The Council on Sex Offender Treatment will meet Feb. 26 to discuss the final stages of establishing guidelines and protocol to evaluate low-level sex offenders. Once the training for the counselors are in place, a spokesperson said, within months, evaluation specialists will begin seeing potential candidates.
"This is a more common sense approach, we have to balance public safety with a limited amount of funds to ensure the maximum amount of public safety," said Allison Taylor, executive director for the Council on Sex Offender Treatment.
She said about 100 new names a week are added to the sex offenders list and database, and the cost of monitoring and managing the system are becoming untenable.
Taylor said the new program will allow deregistration evaluation specialists to categorize those convicted into risk-levels. By placing offenders in risk levels, she said, the government will be able to monitor those that need it the most, rather than spreading out the limited amount of resources on all offenders equally.
"Do we really need to monitor the 19-year-old convicted of having sex with his underage girlfriend the same way we would monitor a 40-year-old serial rapist, pedophile or murder, for instance," she asked. "We need to target predators and not kids caught in the criminal justice system because of the age of consent."
During the 79th Regular session of the Texas Legislature, two companion bills became law which potentially impact deregistration of some sex offenders in Texas. First, H.B. 867 amended Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, by adding Subchapter I, Art. 62.401 et seq., thereby creating a potential deregistration exemption for certain non-aggravated first-time sex offenders, after those offenders have been registered for a minimum of ten (10) years. This delayed exemption is limited to those sex offenders which currently require lifetime registration under Texas law, but who are only subjected to a ten (10) year registration requirement under Federal law.Here's an official summary (pdf) about the process. According to that document, the agency:
The five specific penal code offenses which are subject to deregistration under Art. 62.404 are: Indecency with a Child (Section 21.11(a)(1); Promotion and Distribution of Child Pornography (Section 43.26); Burglary with Intent (Section 30.02); Sexual Performance of a Child (Section 43.25); and Compelling Prostitution of a Child under 17 (Section 43.05(a)(2).
has developed a protocol for the deregistration process that utilizes research supported risk assessment instruments. The Council will soon begin training qualified Licensed Sex Offender Treatment Providers who want to become Deregistration Evaluation Specialists. These Specialists will be the professionals who are qualified to conduct the deregistration evaluations that could potentially provide a Registered Sex Offender with an opportunity to seek relief from the court regarding his or her obligation to register. The training for the Deregistration Evaluation Specialists will be conducted in the upcoming months.The deregistration option will apply to the following offenses:
- Compelling prostitution
- Compelling prostitution (victim under 17 years old)
- Indecent exposure (two or more convictions)
- Unlawful restraint (victim under 17 years old)
- Indecency with a child by exposure
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Sexual performance of a child
- Indecency with a child (victim 13 to 17 years old)
- Any attempts, conspiracies, and solicitations of any of the above listed.
- The sex offender must not being convicted of any offense for which imprisonment for more than 1 year may be imposed during the required registration period;
- The sex offender must not have been convicted of any sex offense including misdemeanors during the required registration period;
- The sex offender must have successfully completed sex offender treatment as defined in 22 Texas Administrative Code, Section 810.2(b)(29); and
- The sex offender must have successfully completed any periods of supervised release, probation, and parole. Any revocation disqualifies the offender.