Parole Supervision for Life (PSL), formerly community supervision for life (CSL), is as restrictive as it sounds. Sex offenders released from prison for certain sex crimes, can be subject to the special provisions of PSL, which is essentially amounts to parole for life.
CSL applies to certain offenses committed between October 31, 1994 and January 14, 2004. After that date, Parole Supervision for Life (PSL) serves as an updated title for the same policy. For all practical purposes, CSL/PSL can be used interchangeably and will be referenced as one in this article.
Though intended as a safeguard for the community against sexual predators, for fully rehabilitated offenders, CSL/PSL can unfairly deny them rights and opportunities.
Convictions Subject to CSL/PSL
According to the law, if you are mandated a CSL/PSL sentence, you are subject to its restrictions for a minimum of 15 years. The following are some of the convictions that can result in your being ordered into the CSL/PSL program:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual assault (Rape)
- Aggravated criminal sexual contact
- Certain types of Kidnaping
- Endangering the welfare of a minor through sexual contact or causing the child to engage in pornography
Restriction of CSL/PSL
The following restrictions apply to all parolees while in the program:
- Increased monitoring by your parole officer
- Unannounced home visits
- The need to obtain permission in order to travel across state lines
- Wearing of an electronic monitor
- Written permission to access a computer with internet access
- Installation of software or hardware to monitor internet usage
- Unannounced inspections of your computer system
Anyone released from prison as a sex offender who is subject to CSL/PSL is required to comply with Megan’s Law, which requires notification to law enforcement where they reside, work, go to school and other areas where the offender frequents. In some instances, the public will be notified that the sex offender is nearby. If the offender is considered a moderate or high risk to re-offend, in addition to notification to law enforcement, the offender will have his or her address, name, physical description provided to organizations where children gather and may encounter the offender. In some instances, the offender’s identifying information can be placed on the internet. If the offender is a high risk to re-offend, the offender’s information can be provided to people within a mile of where the offender resides, works, goes to school or frequents. The offender’s name can also be posted on the internet. Under Megan’s Law, offenders are required to do the following:
- Register with law enforcement in any municipality you live, work and go to school.
- Advise law enforcement of changes in address, employment or schooling.
- Be entered in Megan’s Law sex offender registry.
A person, under the conditions of CSL/PSL, who violates any of these rules (without good cause), is guilty of a crime of the third degree, which carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.
As a registered sex offender, your name and address can be posted on the internet for anyone to view, including employers and neighbors. Your opportunities for finding suitable housing and employment will be severely restricted. Depending upon the jurisdiction where you live, you could be restricted from living near parks and schools.
Many sex offenders have challenged CSL/PSL as an unlawful deprivation of liberty. Being subject to parole for life includes restrictions on travel, use of the internet, residency, and even curfew. Your house or apartment is also subject to inspection at any time.
The New Jersey Supreme Court did find, however, that a person on CSL/PSL cannot be subject to a curfew without due process. A curfew can impose restrictions on the offender’s ability to leave his house during certain hours. In the case of “Jamgochian v. New Jersey State Parole Board” the court did require that the offender be given a hearing before such a restriction could be imposed.
If you are on CSL/PSL, you can apply for termination of CSL/PSL and Megan’s Law after 15 years from the date of your conviction or release from prison, whichever is longer, if you have not committed further offenses and can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that you no longer pose a threat to others. Your case is made stronger if you have been employed steadily for several years, have not violated any provisions of your parole, and have good character references.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advise you on how to meet all of your requirements and what actions to follow to best serve your chances in modifying your CSL/PSL and Megan’s Law requirements and ultimately terminating them.