Sex Offender Supervision in Context: The Need for Qualitative Examinations of Social Distance in Sex Offender–Supervision Officer Relationships

Danielle J.S. Bailey, Lisa L. Sample

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social distance, or the level of familiarity and rapport, within the officer–offender relationship is important in reducing recidivism and promoting desistance. Although examined in a variety of contexts, few researchers have studied the social distance between sex offenders and community supervision officers. When this has been examined, little attention has been paid to the legal and regulatory structure in place specifically for sex offenders or the cultural perceptions that citizens hold about sex offenders and sex offending. Within these structural and cultural contexts, we argue that sex offenders are a unique offender group, and thus, their relationships with supervision officers are likely qualitatively different from those formed between non-sex offenders and supervision officers. Using interviews with community supervision officers and convicted sex offenders, we highlight the structural and cultural contexts under which sex offenders are supervised and the ways in which the social distance in sex offender–officer relationships may vary from non-sex offender–officer relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-204
Number of pages29
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • community corrections
  • sex offenders
  • social control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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