Sex-Offense-Specific Evaluations

 

We conduct sex-offense-specific evaluations with both adults and adolescents.  Dr. Stephen Brake has over 20 years of experience in assessing adult and adolescent sex offenders.  He has conducted hundreds of evaluations, was instrumental in developing standards for evaluations as one of the early members of the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board, and has been recognized in court as an expert in the field.  Brooke Sommers, M.A. has years of experience as both a treatment provider and evaluator.  Both Dr. Brake and Ms. Sommers are listed by the Sex Offender Management Board as Full Operating Level Evaluators for adults and Dr. Brake is also listed as a Full Operating Level Evaluator for adolescents.  Laurie Knight  provides consultant services for  Child Contact Assessments

All evaluations include clinical interviews, mental status examination, sexual history questionnaires, and personality assessment through the use of standardized psychological tests and the Hare PCL.  Evaluations of adult and older adolescent clients also include use of the Abel Assessment for Sexual Interest.  Specialized assessment (IQ testing, projective tests) may be included as needed.  Independent polygraph examinations may be requested in some cases.

The evaluations include:

Post-Conviction Evaluations.   Adult clients convicted of sex offenses may pose different levels of risk to the community and it is one of the primary purposes of sex-offense-specific evaluations to determine what level of risk a specific client might pose and whether the client requires sex-offense-specific treatmentPost-conviction evaluations are designed to ascertain a client’s risk and treatment needs.  They include an assessment of a client’s mental status, strengths and weaknesses.  When appropriate, actuarial risk assessment guidelines, including a tool specifically designed for Colorado offenders, are used to estimate a specific level of risk for each client.  Specific recommendations are made about the type, intensity and duration of treatment which may be needed for a client.  The recommendations include statements about whether sex-offense-specific treatment is required for a particular client or whether some other form of treatment may be most beneficial to the client and the community.  Opinions are also offered about the level of supervision or containment required to both insure community safety and be of maximum benefit to the client.

Evaluations pertaining to adolescent clients also focus on the child’s developmental stage and age-appropriate needs and his or her interactions with family members.  Attention is given to family functioning and safety within the family.  Special attention is also give to identifying common age-typical sexual exploration behaviors in adolescents and differentiating them from more serious sex offense behaviors. 

Evaluations of clients convicted of internet sex offenses or child pornography offenses focus on analyses of digital sexual behaviors, the extent to which a client may or may not display behaviors indicative of a progression toward contact offenses, and an analysis of common risk factors.  We endeavor to discriminate between risk for internet-only or child pornography offending and contact offending by attending to the latest research on the distinction.  We have also developed tools for use in these evaluations.  See Internet Sex Offenses page on this website for more information.

Pre-Plea Evaluations.  These evaluations are in some ways similar to post-conviction evaluations and employ many of the same assessment procedures except that estimates of risk may be less specifically defined since the use of actuarial risk assessments may not be appropriate.  It is never assumed in pre-plea evaluations that any client is guilty of an offense which he denies committing. 

Re-Assessment Evaluations. The purpose of a re-assessment or updated evaluation is to track changes in a client’s risk over time and evaluate his or her progress in treatment.  Both problems and strengths are identified and suggestions are offered about changes that might be made in treatment or supervision that could assist the client to gain more from treatment and enhance public safety.  The Risk-Needs-Responsivity model is employed in assessing treatment needs and specific needs that a client may require according to a Good Lives Model are identified.  Suggestions are made about the specific regulatory pathways which should be a focus of treatment.  These evaluations include use of the SSOTR to map treatment progress.

Colorado Child Contact Assessment). The CCA was designed by the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board to estimate a convicted adult sex offender’s risk to offend against his or her own children.  The evaluation consists of some of the same protocols employed in post-conviction evaluations as well as additional assessment instruments and interviews which are designed to assess family functioning as well as the client’s interpersonal dynamics, empathy, and capacity for attachment.  A polygraph test is also required.  In some cases, Dr. Brake and Ms. Sommers are assisted in these assessments by  family specialist Laurie Knight.  (Please note that the Colorado Sex Offender Management Board is currently reviewing the CCA protocol in light of recent federal court decisions.)  See Child Contact Assessment page.

 

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