The Federal Bureau of Prisons recently promulgated its first comprehensive Program Statement on sex offender programs and treatment, PS 5324.10, Sex Offender Programs (Feb. 15, 2013). This new policy document appears to have been created to address the mandates set forth in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (“the Walsh Act”), Pub. L. No. 109-248. In the wake of the Walsh Act, the Bureau of Prisons is now required to offer a wide range of treatment programs for incarcerated sex offenders and is required to perform a new level of monitoring of such inmates, including vetting them for possible civil commitment under 18 U.S.C. § 4248.
According to PS 5324.10 (Sex Offender Programs), its purpose is to “establish procedures and guidelines for Sex Offender Treatment and Management Services in the Bureau of Prisons . . . [it] is a plain-language, comprehensive set of operational guidelines for sex offender programs operated by psychologists, treatment specialists, and other Bureau staff.” In essence, this document provides a general overview of actual sex offender treatment programs (both residential and non-residential), monitoring and searching protocols for those in federal prison for sexual offenses (or who have a sex offense in their history), and other special protocols for managing incarcerated sex offenders (e.g., the Sex Offender Management Program, transfer of sex offenders to a SOMP facility, transfer of sex offenders to non-SOMP facilities if they refuse treatment, Correctional Management Plans for sex offenders who engage in “risk-relevant behavior,” etc.).
Notably, the Bureau’s promulgation of PS 5324.10 (Sex Offender Programs) appears to have occurred without reference to an underlying federal regulation and does not refer to any American Correctional Association standards, common fixtures in almost every other Federal Bureau of Prisons program statement. As such, it is the opinion of the Prison Law Blog staff that the Bureau’s new policies for treatment and monitoring of sex offenders should be viewed as challengeable should questions about their application arise.