Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Brian Fischer, Commissioner

Contact: Peter K. Cutler
Office of Public Information
(518) 457-8182
peter.cutler@doccs.ny.gov
www.doccs.ny.gov

For immediate release:

November 3, 2011

ANNUAL OPERATION HALLOWEEN INITIATIVE ACHIEVES GOALS

Under supervision sex offenders closely monitored by Parole Officers during Halloween 2011

For the sixth consecutive year, sex offenders under the supervision of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) were closely monitored on Halloween to help ensure that New York's children - and their parents - would safely enjoy holiday festivities in their neighborhoods.

Under its Operation Halloween initiative, the agency imposes special conditions on sex offenders that are on parole and living in the community.

During Operation Halloween 2011, the Department conducted 20 ride-alongs with media outlets across the state. Of the 2,062 home visits made by parole officers, 19 parolees were cited for curfew violations and 35 offenders were taken into custody. Throughout the evening, 270 telephone calls made, 229 DVDs reviewed, 186 surveillances occurred and 178 drug tests conducted. There were no injuries reported and the evening ended on a safe and quiet note.

The thirty-five offenders taken into custody for parole violations will be held in county jail facilities until their scheduled parole violation hearing, which generally occurs within one month of their violation. If found guilty of violating their parole, an offender may be returned to a DOCCS facility or to a treatment program (e.g., Willard Drug Treatment Center) for up to the remainder of their original sentence.

"The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision parole officers take their supervision responsibilities very seriously and they carry out their duties with great professionalism and skill," DOCCS Commissioner Brian Fischer said. "We impose special conditions on sex offenders, conduct surveillance, make unannounced home visits and perform curfew checks at the offenders' residences throughout the year and especially during Operation Halloween. This collaborative, multi-faceted supervision strategy helps protect children, parents and the community."

The agency's Community Supervision staff is responsible for the supervision of nearly 1,800 sex offenders on parole statewide. As part of Operation Halloween, the Department imposes the following special restrictions on those sex offenders:

  • Beginning in the early afternoon on Halloween, or immediately following the end of their work day or completion of an approved community program, all sex offender parolees are to remain in their residence until 6 a.m. the following morning.
  • Parolees are not permitted to participate in any Halloween activity, not permitted to wear any costume, mask or other disguise, and cannot open the door to trick-or-treaters.
  • In addition, parolees are required to answer their telephones as Parole Officers make calls throughout the night, as well as conduct unannounced curfew visits. During those visits, parole officers carry portable DVD players to ensure that parolees are not in possession of inappropriate CDs and/or DVDs.

New Yorkers can learn about registered sex offenders in a variety of ways, with an offender's risk level determining what information is available and how that information can be accessed.

Facebook users can now access information about medium- and high-risk sex offenders living in their neighborhood, next to their workplace or near their child's school with just a few clicks - and without leaving the popular social networking site.

The Facebook Sex Offender Locator Application is accessible via the New York State Public Safety Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nyspublicsafety). The state Division of Criminal Justice Services maintains the state's sex offender registry and a registry subdirectory on the agency's website (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) that provides information about Level 2 (medium risk) and Level 3 (high risk) sex offenders to the public. The new Facebook application is designed to make that information more readily accessible.

The state also gives New Yorkers the ability to sign up to receive alerts via e-mail, text, fax or telephone whenever Level 2 or Level 3 sex offenders move to, or from, a community of interest - their home, work or child's school, for example. Visit www.nyalert.gov and click on the "Sign up for NY-Alerts" link in the left menu to learn more and register.

By law, the state can only provide information about Level 1 (low risk) offenders or those with a pending risk level through a toll-free number (1-800-262-3257); callers must have an individual's name and at least one other identifier (an exact address, date of birth, driver's license number or Social Security number) to learn if that person is a registered sex offender in New York.

As of today, there are 33,046 registered sex offenders on the state's Sex Offender Registry: 12,491 Level 1 offenders; 11,698 Level 2 offenders; 8,176 Level 3 offenders; and 681 offenders whose risk level is pending.

Operation Halloween began in 2006 as an initiative of the New York State Division of Parole. In April 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo merged the Division with the state Department of Correctional Services to create the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

DOCCS mission is to improve public safety by providing a continuity of appropriate treatment services in safe and secure facilities where offenders' needs are addressed and they are prepared for release, followed by supportive services under community supervision to facilitate a successful completion of their sentence.