You may have noticed a news story relating to a South Toms River man who pled guilty to two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault in Ocean County. In the news article, it is reported that the prosecutor is seeking 13 years in New Jersey State Prison with a “No Early Release” (NERA) stipulation, Parole Supervision for Life (PSL), Megan’s Law registration, and no contact with the victims under Nicole’s Law. However, prior to the sentencing, the defendant must undergo an evaluation at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC), commonly referred to as Avenel.
What is an Avenel assessment? An Avenel assessment is only administered to sex offenders who have committed certain sex crimes in New Jersey, including but not limited to, aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault. The purpose of an Avenel assessment is to determine whether an offender’s conduct at the time of the offense was “repetitive and compulsive,” and thus, whether he would benefit from sex offender-specific therapy/treatment. The definitions of “repetitive” and “compulsive,” under the law, are the same that you would find in a common dictionary. If an offender is found both repetitive and compulsive, then he will be recommended for treatment at Avenel, i.e. he will serve his sentence for his offense at Avenel. In most cases, when a sex offender is sentenced to serving his sentence at Avenel, he will usually be required to serve the maximum term of his sentence. Upon completion of his sentence, i.e. maxing out, he will undergo yet another evaluation, however, this evaluation is to determine whether he may be released or will be civil committed.
Note that a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can contest the findings of an Avenel evaluation report before the court.
Source: “Ocean County man admits to sexually assaulting young girls,” by Rob Spahr, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, February 19, 2015.