Offenders Banned From Chat Rooms, Employing Cleaners

The Prison Srvice Unit for Monitoring Sex Offenders has extensive powers to control the lives of its charges. According to a report to the Knesset, the unit's recent actions included stopping one sex offender from hiring a cleaning woman and barring others from bringing home women at all; using chat forums; entering mikves; or possessing the clothes of a minor.

The unit monitors 226 released sex offenders, almost three times as many as in October 2007, when it monitored only 76. Unit commander Ronit Zer said 60 percent were deemed as having a moderate risk of becoming repeat offenders, while the other 40 were considered high risk.

Since the unit was launched two years ago, only two people under its surveillance were convicted of new sexual offenses - self-exposure and an indecent act, respectively. A third person was indicted for a relatively light offense.

Zer said the unit tries not to interfere with the offenders' integration into society. The unit's officers supervise them at work, but don't approach them openly, for example.

All the monitored offenders promised to report to the police when required, and to cooperate. More than half of them were barred from contact with minors, 33 percent were barred from contact with their victims and 34 percent were required to obtain their parole officer's approval of potential workplaces. Eleven were forbidden to drink alcohol and eight were barred from possessing pornographic material.