State of Texas changing the way sex offenders are classified

by Mitzi Loera

NewsWest 9

Sex offenders will now have to answer more questions about their background before they are released from prison.

The state says the answers will help them gauge their risk level more accurately.

The executive director of  Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment says the original test - known as Static  99 - consists of ten questions and wasn't completely accurate.

"The static 99 does predict recidivism, however it is not valid on females and young adults it's really a disadvantage to them," said Allison Taylor, Executive Director for the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment.

The disadvantage is the questions are aimed more for adult men.

Some of those questions include their marital status, age, and their relation to the victim.

Each answer adds up to points, those points determine what type of sex offender category they fall into.

"It only takes four to get into the high risk category," Taylor said.

Now there's a new system, they will still use the original test and two more.

The first is called the level of service inventory revised test.

"Targets criminogenic needs like substance abuse its looking at criminal history, education, vocation, finance, leisure, substance abuse emotional functioning those are things we know can change," Taylor said.

The second test checks the offender's mental status.

"And actually that is an instrument designed to determine if an individual is a psychopath, a psychopath is a person most likely to commit any criminal offense," Taylor said.

Taylor says all the tests could take three to four hours to complete.

Time spent to protect you and your family.

"We really want to make sure we don't cast the net over all sex offenders, because we all know that sex offenders are not created equal. We really want to make sure we are targeting those predators that are living in our community," Taylor said.

The changes are estimated to cost about 250 thousand dollars a year.

It will be paid for by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.