What treatment do SVPs get while they are committed to Coalinga State Hospital?
The appropriate treatment is determined by the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH). Treatment includes a multiphased program called the "Good Lives Model" which is part of the Sex Offender Commitment Program. If an SVP successfully completes the program or if the SVP receives an annual report from DSH stating he or she can be safely treated in a community outpatient program or that he or she is no longer a danger, he or she can petition for release under community-based supervision in the final phase of the Sex Offender Commitment Program. This is pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act. Further information about the program and other treatment is described on the DSH website (www.dsh.ca.gov/coalinga
What is SVP community treatment (CONREP)?
Conditional Release (CONREP) is a community-based supervision program designed to integrate SVPs who no longer pose a risk of re-offense back into the community. This determination is made by the court, pursuant to statutory and case law. If the court determines that a SVP can be safely supervised and treated in the community, the SVP is ordered into the final phase of the Sex Offender Treatment Program. CONREP is under the authority of the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) and provides community-based supervision to SVPs in the final phase of the Sex Offender Commitment Program.
Where is the SVP housed in the community?
Welfare & Institutions Code section 6609.1 specifies the procedure for determining where an SVP will be housed. The SVP may be housed in any county in California, as long as he or she establishes domicile in that county. Once the county of domicile is established, Liberty Healthcare Corporation, in conjunction with the DSH, will conduct a housing search of suitable locations for placement within the county and recommend a specific address to the court. All placement sites must comply with state law, including Jessica’s Law. For example, SVPs may not live within 2,000 feet of a school or park. The SVP should not be placed near victims nor their family members. Once the court approves a placement location, there is a period of time for public comment on the proposed placement. The reviewing court will consider the public comments in making its final placement determination. If the proposed location is approved, the court will order the SVP to be transported to the designated address on or before a specified date and community supervision begins.
Who supervises SVPs in community-based treatment?
Since 2003, the State of California has contracted with Liberty Healthcare Corporation to serve as the CONREP supervision program for all conditionally released SVPs. Liberty Healthcare establishes a Community Safe Team for each SVP. The Safe Team includes a Liberty Healthcare regional coordinator, treatment providers, polygraph specialists, victim advocates and representatives of law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office. Appropriate terms and conditions of release for the SVP are determined. Liberty Healthcare must regularly consult with the Safe Team and update them as to the SVP’s progress and treatment. If there are any concerns, Liberty will immediately alert the Safe Team and the court. The SVP can be brought before the court for a hearing to revoke conditional release and potentially be returned to custody at Coalinga State Hospital.
How is supervision accomplished?
The assigned Liberty Healthcare regional coordinator is responsible for the day-to-day monitoring of the SVP in the community. The regional coordinator will personally interact with the SVP on a daily basis. All SVPs are subject to certain standard supervisory conditions, such as weekly individual and group therapy (transportation will be provided by the regional coordinator). In addition, supervision may include unannounced visits, covert surveillance, random searches of the home and prior approval for all activities in which the SVP plans to participate. Polygraph exams occur every 90 days. SVPs are required to wear a 24-hour, nonremovable GPS (Global Positioning System) bracelet. All SVPs under community supervision must sign and agree to the terms and conditions prior to release. The release-granting court must approve those terms and conditions, and may accept input from the District Attorney's Office and the community.
What happens if an SVP violates his terms and conditions of release?
Any violation of the terms and conditions can be a basis for revocation, even if the violation of those terms and conditions are not a violation of any law. Liberty Healthcare provides quarterly progress reports to the Court, District Attorney and the SVP's attorney. The Community Safe Team meets regularly to discuss issues related to the SVP's progress in the community. If high risk behaviors are observed, Liberty Healthcare or the District Attorney's Office may request that community placement be revoked and the SVP returned to the hospital. If the SVP is returned to the hospital, he or she can petition the supervising court to be re-released into outpatient treatment at a later date.
Can an SVP be released unconditionally after his conditional release?
Yes. According to the law, once an SVP has successfully served one year on conditional release, he or she may petition the court for unconditional release. If such a petition is filed with the court, a hearing is held, evidence is presented, witnesses are called and a determination is made as to whether the SVP may be unconditionally released without supervision.
Where can I get more information about Conditional Release Programs, Liberty CONREP and the Department of State Hospitals?
The Department of State Hospitals, which runs Coalinga State Hospital, has descriptions of its process and programs. Both can be reviewed on the web addresses:
Department of State Hospitals: www.dsh.ca.gov
Coalinga State Hospital: www.dsh.ca.gov/Coalinga