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Chapter 3: Place Restrictions (Probation and Supervised Release Conditions)

A. Statutory Authority

Under 18 U.S.C. § 3563(b)(6), the court may provide that the defendant “refrain from frequenting specified kinds of places.”

B. Sample Condition Language

You must not knowingly enter [name of neighborhood, city, county, subdivision, park, or other geographic entity with clearly defined boundary] without first obtaining the permission of the probation officer.

You must not knowingly enter any [bar, tavern, etc.] without first obtaining the permission of the probation officer.

You must not go to, or remain at any place where you know controlled substances are illegally sold, used, distributed, or administered without first obtaining the permission of the probation officer.

You must not go to, or remain at, any place where you know children under the age of 18 are likely to be, including parks, schools, playgrounds, and childcare facilities.

You must not go to, or remain at, a place for the primary purpose of observing or contacting children under the age of 18.

C. Purpose

  1. This condition serves the statutory sentencing purposes of public protection and rehabilitation. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(C) and (D). It also assists the probation officer in preventing risk of harm to third parties (see: Chapter 2, Section XIII).
  2. This condition prevents the defendant from being in an environment where crimes are occurring, antisocial associates are present, there is an increased risk of substance abuse, or there may be potential victims.
  3. This condition enables the probation officer to satisfy the statutory requirements to keep informed of the conduct and condition of the defendant, report the defendant’s conduct and condition to the sentencing court, and aid the defendant and bring about improvements in his or her conduct and condition. 18 U.S.C. §§ 3603(2)-(3).
  4. This condition allows the probation officer to implement supervision methods demonstrated by social science to be effective at achieving positive outcomes.
    1. Research suggests that correctional interventions that follow the principles of evidence-based practices promote positive change in the defendant and reduce the probability of recidivism. One of the evidence-based practices principles is that probation officers should address criminogenic needs, including substance abuse problems and antisocial associates (see: Chapter 1, Section III).
    2. Research suggests that exposure to antisocial associates increases the probability of recidivism (see: Chapter 1, Section III).
    3. Research suggests that the probability of recidivism is reduced when defendants develop and maintain prosocial bonds to family, school, and work (see: Chapter 1, Section III).
    4. Research suggests that for a criminal event to occur there must be an opportunity to commit a crime. Probation officers may work with defendants on supervision, family members, neighbors, other community members, and law enforcement agencies to structure and monitor the defendant’s routine activities and reduce the extent to which defendants come into contact with criminal opportunities. Probation officers may also monitor defendants through contacts with the defendant and his or her social network, verifying employment, restricting travel, and providing positive reinforcement for prosocial routine activities. By seeking to prohibit travel to specific places or access to specific establishments, probation officers may try to disrupt activities that increase crime opportunities (see: Chapter 1, Section III(A)(4)).

D. Method of Implementation

  1. The probation officer ensures that the defendant understands the locations and/or geographical boundaries described in the condition and also the procedure for requesting and approving permission to be at these locations.
  2. Probation officers remain informed of the defendant’s activities by interviewing members of the defendant’s social network. The probation officer should develop a network of people in the community who have frequent contact with the defendant. Examples of important potential partners in the supervision process are family members, friends, neighbors, employers, coworkers, service providers, clergy, police officers assigned to the defendant’s neighborhood, and other local law enforcement and community corrections personnel. Probation officers may also consider involving the defendant’s attorney, whose interest in the defendant’s success coincides with the purpose of supervision and whose position as an advocate may help reinforce the defendant’s understanding of his or her legal obligations. Collaboration with on-the-scene supervision partners is essential for efficient verification of compliance with conditions and for early warning signs that may require the probation officer’s intervention.
  3. Probation officers also remain aware of the defendant’s activities through community observation, which is fieldwork that does not involve a direct contact with the defendant or the defendant’s social network. It may be the preferred way to unobtrusively monitor compliance with specific conditions in a way that does not intrude on the activity itself. For example, observation of a defendant’s work site or residence during the start or end time of his or her reported work schedule may be appropriate in some cases. Although occasional observations of this nature may be productive, prolonged fieldwork such as this is generally not appropriate under Judicial Conference policy.
  4. Compliance with this condition may also be monitored through location monitoring technology (see: Chapter 3, Section XII).
  5. The physical and psychological harm caused by sex offenses is particularly traumatic, and probation officers should give priority to minimizing the impact on victims and to preventing new sex crimes from occurring. Not all persons with a history of committing sex offenses are alike. Rather, they present a spectrum of criminogenic risk and therapeutic need. Supervision techniques should vary accordingly.