Sex Offender Assessment Board
The Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board (SOAB) was created through a joint effort of the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office following a Special Session on Crime. It was originally established under Act 24 of 1995, or what is commonly known as “Megan’s Law”, which calls for the assessment and registration of all sex offenders who are convicted under the law.
Under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law, the SOAB is responsible for conducting assessments of certain convicted sex offenders in order to assist the court in determining whether they meet the legal criteria for classification as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). If a sex offender is classified by the court as an SVP, he or she is subject to lifetime annual registration (on a quarterly basis), lifetime counseling (approved by the SOAB), and community notification. The SOAB also conducts assessments for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (PBPP). These assessments, which are independent expert opinions, do not address the SVP classification. Rather, they focus on issues related to the risks, treatment, and management needs posed by the individual sex offender being considered for parole.
The SOAB is administered by an Executive Director, and supported by an administrative staff and a team of investigators. The SOAB is housed under the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole by statute for support services.
The law requires that the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board (SOAB) be comprised of psychiatrists, psychologists, and criminal justice professionals, all experts in the evaluation and treatment of sexual offenders. The SOAB members are appointed to four-year terms by the Governor. During the most recent reporting period, the SOAB had a total panel complement of 76 members.