Chapter 3: Restrictions on Viewing Sexually Explicit Materials (Probation and Supervised Release Conditions)
A. Statutory Authority
Under 18 U.S.C. § 3563(b)(22), the court may provide that the defendant “satisfy such other conditions as the court may impose.”
B. Sample Condition Language
You must not view or possess any “visual depiction” (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256), including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of “sexually explicit conduct” (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256).
You must not view or possess any “visual depiction” (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256) including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of “sexually explicit conduct” (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256), that would compromise your sex offense-specific treatment.
- This condition serves the statutory sentencing purpose of rehabilitation. 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)(2)(B)-(D).
- This condition enables the probation officer to satisfy the statutory requirements to: aid the defendant and bring about improvements in his or her conduct and condition. 18 U.S.C. § 3603(3).
- Prohibiting the viewing of sexually-explicit material may be necessary in some cases as part of sex offense-specific treatment.
- Social science research suggests that viewing adult pornography may increase the probability of recidivism depending on the characteristics and offense history in individual cases. In some cases, such as when defendants test high on measures of sexual aggression but have no sexual interest in minors, viewing adult pornography may not be a risk factor that needs to be addressed. In other cases, such as when a defendant tests high for sexual interest in minors, viewing adult pornography is correlated with an increased probability of recidivism.
D. Method of Implementation
- Probation officers ensure compliance with this condition by interviewing the defendant, polygraph examinations (see: Chapter 3, Section XIX), search and seizure conditions (see: Chapter 3, Section XV), and computer monitoring conditions (see: Chapter 3, Section XX).
- Due to the complex and individualized nature of sex offense-specific risk factors, probation officers should not recommend this condition until there has been an assessment of sexual deviance and risk by a sex offense-specific treatment provider. Probation officers should recommend this condition in consultation with the sex offense-specific treatment provider based on the specific risks in the individual case.
- When this condition is imposed, probation officers should meet with the defendant and sex offense-specific treatment provider to discuss the defendant’s specific risks associated with viewing pornography.
- Probation officers and sex offense-specific treatment providers should assess the need for this condition on an ongoing basis and modify the condition if treatment progress and goals of supervision indicate a modification is appropriate.