Under Pennsylvania 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 registration with the Pennsylvania State Police (with verification on a quarterly basis), lifetime sex offender counseling (with a provider approved by the SOAB), and community notification. The SOAB also conducts assessments for the Pennsylvania Parole Board. 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.
On February 8, 2004, Act 21 of 2003 went into effect. Under this Act, the juvenile court system is mandated to refer to the SOAB for assessment those persons found to be delinquent for an act of sexual violence, which if committed by an adult would be a violation of 18 Pa. C. S. § 3121, 3124.1, 3125, 3126, and 4302, and who remain in an institution or placement pursuant to their adjudication 90 days prior to their 20th birthday. The purpose of the SOAB assessment is to determine whether the juvenile is in need of involuntary treatment because of his difficulty in controlling his sexually violent behavior.