Sex offender registry report shows gaps, increase in numbers

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(PNC photo)

Guam – The Judiciary of Guam recently updated the Guam Legislature on the sex offender registry and risk assessments for release and sentencing of criminal sexual conduct offenders. During the round table on Monday, findings from a draft report from the Bureau of Statistics and Plans provided an overview of the current registry system. 

The legislature first convened a round table a few week ago to talk about sentencing, risk assessments, therapeutic intervention, and release of CSC offenders.

Senator Therese Terlaje, the legislative oversight chair said, “We confirmed at that time that despite the option of a sentence of life imprisonment without parole, many CSC offenders are being released due to lesser sentences or parole and they are being released without any assessment of risk of re-offending and in almost all cases without any treatment to deter them from re-offending.”

To put this in perspective, the number of offenders convicted of sex offense increased by 5.1 percent in 2017 as compared to 2016, according to the  “FY 2019-2022 Strategy for Drug Control, Violent Crime and Criminal Justice Systems Improvement,” a draft report released by the BSP. Meanwhile, according to the same report, 543 convicted criminal sexual conduct offenders are unsupervised.

Submitted to the legislature for comment, the report said a total of 883 registered sex offenders are listed on the sex offender registry website. Out of the total number, 14 registered offenders are on the run and four failed to register all together.

A total of 1093 convicted sex offenders were reported in 2017. Out of that number, 583 are Level 1 offenders; 132 Level 2 offenders, and; 378 Level 3 offenders.

Ruben Payumo,  who is in charge of the registry said, “We make it a point to meet with every sex offender that we register. The majority come out of JOG Courts, so after their sentencing, that’s when we meet with them to explain their duty to register and sign all the forms related to the registration process. We also take their photo, gather all of their information, and then they are required to report back to our office.”

He said offenders are required to check-in with the office. The frequency of reporting is based on their status. Level 1 offenders check-in once every 90 days for life. Level 2 offenders report once every 180 days for life. Level 3 offenders report annually, for a period of 15 years.

According to the report, the Judiciary of Guam’s sex offender registration management office has approximately 92 sex offenders managed by one probation officer; 494 managed by three case managers, and; 543 unsupervised sex offenders. The Department of Corrections’ Parole Division has 74 sex offenders managed by 6 parole officers.

Terlaje pointed out that 12 CSC offenders have re-offended since 2015.

The report also identified several gaps in service as a result of an absence of specialized treatment for convicted sexual offenders. It also mentioned the need to provide treatment programs to sex offenders in order to reduce the incidence of sexual re-offense.

The report also highlighted the need to hire or contract certified sex offender counselors or to train staff to do counseling at DOC. The hiring and training of specialists is also needed to address court orders that require counselling of inmates while in custody.

Although training was provided to two DOC staff in 2016, the lack of resources and other critical job duties and tasks have prevented these individuals in implementing a sex offender program within the department, according to the report.