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Jurisdictions Restricting/Monitoring Offender’s Computer/Internet Use

December 10th, 2010

Initially, I had made this a Post but as a resource I believe it fits better as a Page. This will make it easier to find.

It is my attempt to keep track of jurisdictions that have computer/Internet restrictions on the books. Some of these statutes are specific and some give broad authority for the Courts or correctional agency to fashion such conditions. Readers are invited to post updates, with specifics, including jurisdiction, statute information (such as restrictions, installation of monitoring software, social networking ban, etc.) and source (specific code, news article, etc.) for inclusion on this page. Please also note that this listing is not restricted to just sex offender conditions. Any condition that restricts any offender’s computer/Internet access is of interest. As the updates come in I will update accordingly. Thank you in advance for your interest and assistance.

UNITED STATES

States:

Based upon my research to date (November 14, 2010) there are at least 16 states (almost a 1/3) which have statutes specifically authorizing computer/Internet prohibitions and/or restrictions. The states with such statutes are: CA, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MN, NC, NY, NJ, ND, NV, OK, and TX.

In some states, such as New Hampshire, probation officers have the statutory authority to impose special conditions, including computer restrictions, without prior sentencing court approval. The Supreme Court of New Hampshire recently ruled that a special computer condition imposed by a probation officer in a child pornography case was “essential to ensure the effective rehabilitation and supervision of the defendant.” (State of New Hampshire vs. Steve Merrill, 2010).

In Oregon, there also is no have specific statute on the subject. Instead, the Board of Parole and Post-Prison Supervision imposes the following condition on offenders releasing from custody who have been convicted of a sex offense as listed under ORS 181.594:

“Special Condition 12: Consent to search of computer or other electronic equipment upon the request of the Parole Officer, or their representative, if the Parole Officer has reasonable grounds to believe that evidence of a violation will be found.”

Under certain circumstances, the Board may impose an “enhanced” computer condition for sex offenders. The enhanced computer condition is imposed
only when the sex offender’s crime is directly related to the use of a computer or an electronic device.

“Special Condition 10:  No access to a computer, the Internet, digital storage devices or other computer-related devices and peripheral computer equipment without the prior written approval of the supervising officer and, where applicable, the sex-offender treatment provider, and only under conditions set by them.
Conditions shall  include random or unannounced examinations by the supervising officer or designee of any and all computers or other electronic devices to     which the offender has access, as well as the installation or use of   software capable of determining whether or not sexually explicit materials have been accessed, exchanged or stored.”  Probations conditions are imposed by the local courts.

So as of  December 10, 2010, we have 17 states, with specific statuory lanuage regarding computer/Internet restrictions, and at least two states with statutory authority for probation/parole to craft such restrtictions. That is 19 out of 50 (38%).

Federal

In the federal system, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3563 and 3583 provide broad statutory authority for federal courts to impose such conditions on all cases involving a cyber-risk. The 2009 Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual §§5B1.3(d)(7)(B) and 5D1.3.(d)(7)(B) also clearly delineates such conditions should be considered in sex offender cases. (U.S.S.G. 2009)

Additional, the Adam Walsh Act and the KIDS Act of 2008, manadate Internet idenitifers be disclosed by sex offenders during registeration. As of July 2009 over half the states had incorporated such reporting requirements as well.

UNITED KINGDOM

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 introduced measures designed to monitor sex offender actions through the use of prohibition orders, which can include computer restrictions and/or installation of monitoring software. These court ordered restrictions are enforced via Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), with police, as opposed to corrections officials, charged with monitoring computer use.

Sources:

Adam Walsh Act

Council of State Governments, (CSG) (2010) Legislating Sex Offender Management: Trends in State Legislation 2007 and 2008

Elliot, I, Findlater, D, and Hughes, T. “A Practice Report: A Review of e-Safety Remote Computer Monitoring for UK Sex Offenders”, Journal of Sexual Aggression (July 2010), Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 237-248

Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008 (the KIDS Act of 2008)

LaMagna, R. and Berejka, M. “Remote Computer Monitoring: Managing Sex Offenders’ Access to the Internet”, Journal of Offender Monitoring, Volume:21 Issue:1, 2009, pp.11 to 24

Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes. (2010). Chapter 59 — H.F.No. 1301. Minnesota Session Laws, Retrieved June 21, 2010 from http://ht.ly/39RML

National Conference of State Legislatures (2009). Sex Offender Computer Restriction & Registration Related Statutes, Updated February 2009

National Conference of State Legislatures (2009). State Legislation Relating to Internet Social Networking Sites Updated April 2009

Oregon Department of Corrections, Communications Manager, email dated 12/08/2010.

State of New Hampshire vs. Steve Merrill, June 30, 2010, Retrieved Aug. 1, 2010, from http://ht.ly/39RR2

The Management of Sexual Offenders by the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation, Retrieved November 14, 2010, http://ht.ly/39RSV

United States Sentencing Commission (USSC), 2009 Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual

18 U.S.C. §3563, Conditions of Probation

18 U.S.C. §3583, Conditions of Supervised Release

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  1. Art
    November 27th, 2011 at 14:09 | #1

    Richard,

    I will call you Tuesday next week. Art Bowker

  2. jthompson
    January 22nd, 2013 at 23:45 | #2

    More and more often, I’m seeing the correction community lauding computer monitoring software, and the general publics typical response is, “gee wiz, that’s neato!”

    I just don’t get it. The very first time I read about such software, I was reading a pdf document where the author, a former parole officer, spent a full 20 pages pontificating about the virtues of this ingenious software.

    But by the end of the first paragraph of this article, I was already asking myself some painfully obvious questions that seem to elude both the general public and the corrections community at large, perhaps out of a strong desire to have legitimate tools available to reign in sex offenders.

    Sorry folks, even the strongest desire to believe a fairytale with not turn the fairytale into reality. One quick example, let’s suppose I am a former sex offender, and I just finished watching my parole officer install spy software on my desktop computer. Let’s also assume I have an IQ of 75, Despite this, it will take perhaps a full two seconds to realize that this is going to be my new token computer that I never do anything naughty on. Instead, I’m going to have to go to Best Buy and pay cash for a small net book that I keep hidden in the attic under a pile of insulation, or in the trunk of my car or under a loose board in my staircase. The options are limitless. This will be my “naughty” computer that I will only use on public networks–since I now know better than to use my own.

    And so, when my smug Parole officer, who apparently rode the short yellow bus to school when he was a kid, comes to visit, the 1001 features build into his oh so magnificent monitoring tool will product zero meaningful results.

    How is it that corrections officials with 25+ years of experience and the general public can so easily miss such an obvious flaw in the whole computer monitoring farce!

    • Art
      January 23rd, 2013 at 17:50 | #3

      Well, Jthompson, that is the problem with installing monitoring software and just forgetting about it. You have to do more than just install and walk away. What do I mean by that? Well, random home visits, discussions with family/friends, etc. all can and do detect someone using a non-monitored computer. You give the example of someone using cash to purchase another computer and not using their own network. Well whose are they going to use? McDonald’s… that is pretty public and they might get caught. Are they going to set at McDonald’s and download porn? Maybe they go to a friend’s house. Gee Mom, where is Johnny…. he is over at Tom’s house…. PO goes there and finds Johnny, a lap top and WiFi. Additionally, the use of polygraph examinations is also another method of detecting someone using a non-monitored computer. Something as simple as looking at monitoring results which reflect a significant drop in usage is a key that someone may using another computer. The offender has to be 100% no mistakes in concealing that computer and it use. All it takes is one mistake to catch them. Of course, someone lies and gets on a non-monitored computer, is someone that earns a ticket on a bus to prison. It is not about eliminating risk it is about managing risk. Of course, these ideas are discussed in http://appaweb.csg.org/Perspectives/Perspectives_V35_N4_P40.pdf. So before you start reserving seats on your personal bus, maybe, just maybe you should try reading a bit more on the subject. This blog is a good start.

  3. August 19th, 2013 at 15:05 | #4

    Interesting discussion. I”d like to introduce an unfortunate friend of mine Mr. Crawford. Website I specified here is actually His linkedIn profile page. Mr. Crawford was arrested three times. One time, I sent him a letter with a ‘wish-well’ card from work. The letter was returned by the Oregon Prison where he stayed. Our secretary at work even informed me that I can’t use my work address for personal letter. At that time though, I really didn’t Mr. Crawford to have knowledge of my home address. Later I simply ordered paper and pencil package endorsed by correction site itself. Personally, it is always a blurry line to me about how to uphold most basic human rights that ordinary people took for granted to the unfortunate incarcerated population under the name of justice to all. Your work is most critical in that regards.

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