Personnel Profile: Maricarmen Peoples

Tell me about your job.
I work for the Sex Offender Management Board. I provide the support, handle all things regarding the meetings, deal with the board committees. I also deal with the press, and I coordinate interviews between our board members. I’m pretty busy. I also provide support for the Communications office here at Corrections. I used to work a lot more with external affairs, but now I’m doing a lot of special projects for the assistant secretary of communication here.

Tell me more about the board.
It was signed into law in 2006. It has 17 members. They’re from all over California, all different aspects of sex offender management, including treatment providers, supervision, probation, law enforcement, and the Dept. of Corrections, Justice and some others.

Their goal is to improve the sex offender management system in California. They meet every month and they discuss different aspects: treatment, re-entry, community supervision. Their ultimate goal is provide recommendations to the governor and the legislature in January, 2010. The board is actually supposed to sunset. There is pending legislation to extend the life of the board, but that hasn’t passed yet.

Was the board established because there were more people to track, or because of all the new controls on them?
A combination. There were a number of tasks forces that were put together back in 2005 and 2006. The High-Risk Sex Offender Task Force and Sexually Violent Predator Task Force. One of the recommendations of those task forces was to establish a Sex Offender Management Board.

Assemblyman Todd Spitzer was one of the chairs of those task forces. His initial vision was to have a board that would handle all things sex offender, so whatever was going on in California statewide, whether it be supervision or treatment, the board would be in consultation with the leaders and policymakers.

Who are some of the people on the board?
Suzanne Brown McBride, she’s the executive director for California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She’s the chair. Dr. Tom Tobin, he’s a treatment provider and he’s the vice chair. Some other members are CDCR’s undersecretary Scott Kernan, deputy director Robert Amboseli for parole. We have an LAPD representative, Diane Webb. She works with sex offender registration. We have a judicial representative, Judge Peter Espinosa from LA Superior Court. There’s quite a variety of people.

One of the goals of the board is to have evidence-based practices. We’re looking at national models, what other states are doing, what types of residency restrictions they’re implementing and how it’s working. It’s been an interesting job so far. I hope it doesn’t end.

Have there been any difficult situations you’ve had to deal with in the press?
One of the challenges of this board is that they’re subject to Bagley-Keene. Whatever they say at a meeting is all public. It’s not a problem, it’s just that sometimes if the press catches something at a meeting and they think it was something else when it really wasn’t.

It happened once in the beginning, but it was remedied and we clarified with everybody. It was just one of the representatives said something that was taken out of context and put in an article. I don’t remember the exact sentence. That was right when I started. I think it was taken to insult the legislators for all the laws. It wasn’t said that way, but the way the sentence was taken out was a little bit controversial. It was fine. We had multiple meetings with legislators and we’ve had open discussions with them to talk about laws and education.

How did you end up in this position?
I started off as a student assistant working in the Department of Justice in the Victims’ unit. Then I got a job at the Health and Human Services Agency, where I got assigned to staff the High Risk Sex Offender/Sexually Violent Predator Task Force, because sexually violent predators are monitored by the Department of Mental Health, which is underneath the Health and Human Services Agency. From there, when they established the board, I applied for the job.

Tell me about your new job.

I will be working as an Associate Governmental Program Analyst for the Director of Planning, Preparedness and Emerging Threats at the California Emergency Management Agency.  I am really looking forward to this new position and what it has to offer. With the information that I gathered from the interview process, my understanding is that I will be working on special projects for the director. I will also collaborate with representatives from security departments statewide and the federal government on projects and initiatives that will assist with disaster planning for the State of California. I believe there may be some travel involved depending on how much assistance the Director requires.

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