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French Delegation Visits CSOSA

Submitted by Paul Brennan, Supervisory Community Supervision Officer, CSOSA Community Supervision Services (CSOSA Newslink, Winter 2005)

On February 10, 2005, Director Paul Quander, Deputy Director Adrienne Poteat, Branch Chief Jody Tracey, Brian Moran of the organization Satellite Tracking of People (STOP) and myself, met with a representative of APACS, Jean-Pierre Escarfail. APACS is a French association working to protect society from sexual offenders. A.P.A.C.S. was set up in France by the parents of victims of the serial rapist and killer Guy Georges, during his trial in 2001. Mr. Escarfail's daughter was one of this serial killer's seven victims. The association has set itself the task of saving lives by pressing for specific legislation to identify and protect society from sexual offenders. APACS main objectives are:

  1. To enlarge the existing DNA database (called FNAEG which stands for "Fichier National des Em preintes Génétiques"). The existing database currently has around 40,000 DNA prints when its British counterpart holds 2,000,000 profiles.
  2. To prevent known offenders from re-offending, by assessing the risks incurred by society when an offender is released either because he has finished serving his sentence or because he has been granted a reduction in his sentence.
  3. To prevent offenders from re-offending by using an electronic GSM/GPS control system.
  4. To prevent juvenile delinquents from becoming sexual offenders, since it has been observed that rapists and murderers in most cases already had a history of petty crimes.
  5. To provide for medical treatment in jail and psychiatric follow-up for sexual offenders after release and help them to re insert into society.
  6. To help and support victims of sexual violence and their families.
  7. To establish contact with the administrations and institutions whose task it is to implement the law and make them aware of the difficulties met either by the police or by the victims and their families.
  8. To study the "best practices" in foreign countries, especially in Europe, Canada and the United States.

The association participates in several projects issued by the French Home Office and the Ministry of Justice. They are in contact with the individuals responsible for the police and justice administration in France.

Mr. Escarfail was primarily interested in our use of GPS tracking with sex offenders in an urban setting. During our three-hour meeting we detailed how CSOSA has been using GPS tracking with our sex offender population, stressing the idea that GPS is one of many tools we use to manage this population. We also discussed our sex offender management program in general and what aspects we feel make us successful, such as the use of polygraph examinations, computer forensic capabilities, physical surveillance, sex offender treatment, enforcing strict release conditions, building partnerships with police/prosecutors/community, sex offender registration, DNA testing, specialized staff training and victim sensitivity. Mr. Escarfail left with the impression that overall there is no substitute for conscientious and highly committed CSOs, prosecutors and police, as well as department heads and legislators, in establishing a successful program to manage sex offenders.

From meeting with Mr. Escarfail, I reflected to the time when we were starting from scratch as they are. I recalled the seemingly insurmountable task of getting all the pieces together to build a successful program. As I see where we are today, I am impressed with the accomplishments the Sex Offender Unit has made in the area of sex offender management.

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