THE CONTAINMENT APPROACH: An Aggressive Strategy for the Community Management of Adult Sex Offenders

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Most convicted adult sex offenders remain or return to the community. This article recommends a specific approach to the community management of adult sex offenders, which holds convicted abusers accountable for the risk they pose to the community. The containment approach can be achieved only when criminal justice and related agencies proactively engage in a multidisciplinary, multi-agency strategy that seeks to close the natural fragmentation that occurs across multiple agencies and systems. The containment strategy described here begins with 5 distinct components: (a) a victim-centered philosophy, (b) multidisciplinary collaboration, (c) specific management tools, (d) consistent multi-agency policies and protocols, and (e) program quality-control mechanisms. This strategy cannot be implemented without a local, ongoing commitment to teamwork and community safety. The strategy must be customized to jurisdictions seeking to minimize public risk and maximize offender and public agency accountability. It is an evolving approach that is based on empirical data and field experience.

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