Since the passage of The Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act in 1998, almost any conviction for a class 2, 3, or 4 felony sex offense requires a lifetime supervision sentence. The Lifetime Supervision Act allows for a potential lifetime sentence to the Department of Corrections (DOC). However, before the lifetime supervision sentence can be applied to sex crimes such as trafficking children or sexual exploitation, the court must find that the offender is likely to commit sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, sexual assault on a child, or sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Further, the sentencing court also would have to find that the victim was a stranger to the offender or a person with whom the offender established or promoted a relationship with primarily for the purpose of sexual victimization.
Felony sex offenses, thus, may be subject to what is known as indeterminate sentencing – whether the offender is sentenced to prison, or whether he is sentenced to probation. Indeterminate essentially means that the specific amount of time to be served is not determined at the time of sentencing.
If the offender is eligible for and sentenced to probation, probation is for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life for a class 4 felony, and a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life for a class 2 or 3 felony. Intensive supervision probation would be required until further order of the court. If a person is sentenced to prison (DOC) for a lifetime offense, the court is required to sentence the offender to at least the minimum of the presumptive range of sentencing to the maximum sentence of life. Currently, at the Department of Corrections, the minimum sentence is not a release date. It sets the earliest date at which an offender will meet the Parole Board.
If a sex offender is sentenced to probation, it may be possible to terminate his probation early – however, this happens infrequently.