The State of Texas has recognized the increased public awareness and concern with the chronic prevalence of sexual aggression and sexual victimization. Over the past two decades, the Council’s core function has expanded from a mere regulatory agency due to increased public awareness and the concern for community safety. Today, the Council has four primary functions: 1) public safety: by administering the civil commitment program of sexually violent predators and preventing sexual assault 2) public and behavioral health: by treating sex offenders, 3) regulatory: by maintaining a list of licensed sex offender treatment providers and establishing the rules and regulations regarding the treatment of sex offenders, and 4) educational: by the dissemination of information to the public regarding the management of sex offenders. This legal mandate is an innovative domain of the law. These functions may appear to be separate and distinct, however in reality, these functions work together and if they were separated it would be deleterious to public safety. The Council’s functions are synergistic with maintaining the highest level of public safety and preventing sexual assault through effective treatment and interventions in the management of sex offenders.
History of the Council
In 1983 , the Council on Sex Offender Treatment (CSOT) was created by the 68 th Legislature (Senate Bill 84) under the name of the Interagency Council on Sex Offender Treatment. The Interagency Council was composed of eleven different agency representatives and three clinical experts from the public appointed by the Governor. The Interagency Council’s primary responsibility was to determine the need for a state administered sex offender treatment program and to make recommendations about the nature of the program. The Interagency Council was designed to coordinate effective treatment strategies to reduce recidivism and increase public safety. CSOT was originally placed under the Texas Department of Corrections.
In 1984 , the Interagency Council began to assess the State’s need for sex offender treatment with the primary focus on juvenile sex offenders.
In 1987 , the Interagency Council successfully recommended that the Texas Youth Commission establish a treatment facility for juvenile sex offenders and that specialized caseloads be expanded and maintained for sex offenders on supervision.
In 1989 , the Interagency Council was authorized by the Legislature to establish and publish a registry of providers of mental health or medical services for the rehabilitation of sex offenders. The Interagency Council was to develop procedures and eligibility requirements for registration. For the first time the Legislature provided funding to support the Interagency Council through a rider in the appropriation for the Texas Department of Corrections. The first appropriation was $64,900.00 dollars.
In July 1990 , the Interagency Council hired its’ first staff.
In 1991 , during the reorganization of the State’s criminal justice agencies, CSOT was placed under the Department of Justice Planning and Assistance; however the enabling legislation was not passed. The first edition of the Registry of Sex Offender Treatment Providers was published.
In 1992 , the Council began publishing the TEXAS RESOUCE, a newsletter on sex offender issues. Thus in the 1992-1993 biennium, CSOT received a line item appropriation and was left in a quasi-agency status.
In 1993 , the 73 rd Legislature modified this quasi-agency status by reorganizing the Interagency Council to a three-member Governor appointed body and 12 members Interagency Advisory Committee. The Legislature expanded the Council’s statutory authority to regulate the use of the title, “sex offender treatment provider”. The passage of a title act protected the title of “Sex Offender Treatment Provider” and required Treatment Providers to have criminal background checks.
In 1995 , the Council adopted the Standards of Practice for Sex Offender Treatment Providers that delineated the appropriate evaluation and treatment procedures for sex offenders, including a code of ethics for professionals. The Council collaborated with the Texas Association of Polygraph Examiners to develop the Recommended Guidelines for Clinical Polygraph Examinations of Sex Offenders. The Council received $137,302 with over half of its funding directly from General Revenue. Additionally, the Council received a one-time grant of $11,700 from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s Office to conduct two round table discussions on juvenile sex offender issues. These discussions brought together professionals and agencies concerned with juvenile sex offenders to promote public service announcements and training seminars aimed at preventing adolescent sexual abuse. The Council employed a staff of two in 1995.
In 1997 , the 75 th Legislature transferred the CSOT to the Texas Department of Health.
In 1999 , the Council began implementation of the Civil Commitment Program for the Sexually Violent Offenders (SB365). Texas Senate Bill 365 established the first outpatient civil commitment program in the United States.
In 2003 , SB 1054 gave the Council the responsibility to develop offense specific guidelines for Community Supervision sex offenders. The Occupation’s Code, Chapter 110 was amended to add one additional public governor appointee to the Council.
In 2004 , under HB 2292 the Texas Department of Health was abolished and the Council was transferred. The Council is currently an independent board that is administratively attached to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
In 2005 , under HB 2036 sex offender treatment in Texas became a protected practice and Health & Safety Code, Chapter 1 was amended to define a “licensed practitioner” as a sex offender treatment provider listed in the Occupations Code, Chapter 110. Additionally, HB 2036 statutorily mandated the Council develop and research a dynamic risk assessment in determining a sex offender’s level of risk to the community. SB 912 amended Health & Safety Code, Chapter 841 to include sexually motivated murder and statutorily mandated the Council to research ways in which sexually violent predators and other persons who commit sexually violent offenses use the internet to meet or otherwise establish contact with potential victims. HB 867 amended Chapter 62 to add the Executive Director and sex offender treatment provider to the Risk Assessment Review Committee. The bill mandated the Council determine the minimum required registration period under 42 U.S.C Section 14071 (Wetterling Act and Lychner Act) and establish, develop, or adopt an individual risk assessment that evaluates the likelihood the person will engage in criminal activity and determine if the person poses a continued danger to the community. SB 990 mandated that the Commissioner shall establish a committee of not more than nine members; two members who represent the general public; other members with camp professional experience, and representative of the Council on Sex Offender Treatment.
In 2007 , under HB 8 (Jessica’s Law) Relating to the prosecution, punishment, and supervision of certain sex offenders and to certain crimes involving sex offenders. Added a new offense of continuous abuse of a child offense. Ended statute of limitation for sexual assault under Section 22.011(a)(2) or aggravated sexual assault Section 22.021(a)(1)(B). Increased the limitation on prosecution to 20 years from the 18 th birthday on sexual performance, aggravated kidnapping with intent, and burglary with intent. Mandated SOTP for inmates under Section 21.02(h) or 22.021(f). Added death penalty provision for a second conviction with one super-aggravating factor. Added monitoring sexually violent predators by GPS tracking. Added the expulsion of a student if the student commits continuous abuse of a child during school sponsored activities. HB 2034 Relating to the regulation of sex offender treatment providers. Clarified the definition of a sex offender and sex offender treatment provider. Deleted rehabilitation service and added a person does not have to be licensed to provide adjunct treatment. Clarified that CSOT licensees are subject to the rules of the Council rather than the rules of the other licensing entity with respect to sex offender treatment. Amended Health & Safety Code 841 so a judge is not subject to an objection other than an objection made under Section 74.053(d) of the Government Code. Clarifies SPU civil division. Allowed the local prosecuting attorney to request SPU assist in the violation trial. Failure to comply with civil commitment may be prosecuted in the county of violation or Montgomery County. SB 1951 created of 435 th Judicial District Court in Montgomery County for civil commitment proceedings under Chapter 841, Health & Safety Code and criminal cases involving 841.085, Health & Safety Code, and Article 62.203, Code of Criminal Procedures. SB 909 Relating to the continuation and functions of TDCJ, Texas Board of Criminal Justice, Correctional Managed Health Care Committee, and the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Added that before an inmate is discharged or release onto supervision TDCJ shall use the dynamic risk assessment developed by the Council to assess risk levels. Added that TDCJ may not exempt any employee from CSOT licensing requirement under the Chapter 110, Occupations Code. HB 1751 imposed a fee on certain sexually oriented businesses to fund sexual assault prevention programs. SANE, victim assistance, rape crisis centers, a DSHS study on the prevalence of sexual assault, a UT study on the sexual assault and domestic violence. sexual assault training for Texas Rangers, increase in civil commitment trials, monitoring high risk offenders, and increasing TYC and TDCJ SOTP. HB 1988 allows the issuance of a protective order for a victim of the offense of sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or indecency with a child.