Sex offender board votes to scrap ‘sex offender’ for new, ‘less negative’ terminology

The Colorado Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB) voted Friday to use “adults who commit sexual offenses” in place of “sex offenders” in the standards and guidelines used by treatment providers who assess, evaluate and treat people convicted of sexual offenses.

After discussion and public comment, the board voted 10-6 to make the language change to the Standards and Guidelines for the Assessment, Evaluation, Treatment and Behavioral Monitoring of Adult Sex Offenders. This revision to the Standards will be open for public comment for 20 days. The Board will then review the public comment, discuss any adjustments based on the public comment, and ratify the language revision during the Board’s next public meeting.

The language change applies only to the SOMB Standards; the term “sex offender” will continue to be used in Colorado statute and the criminal justice system, including courts, law enforcement and the Colorado Sex Offender Registry. The name of the SOMB itself will also remain unchanged.

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The SOMB is a 25-member board created by the Colorado General Assembly in order to esablish “evidence-based standards for the evaluation, identification, treatment, management, and monitoring of adult sex offenders and juveniles who have committed sexual offenses at each stage of the criminal or juvenile justice system to prevent offenders from reoffending and enhance the protection of victims and potential victims.”

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