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May 30, 2019

Bureau of Justice Statistics releases "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from State Prison: A 9-Year Follow-Up (2005-14)"

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has this new press release providing highlights of this big new report titled "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from State Prison: A 9-Year Follow-Up (2005-14)." Here are excerpts from the press release:

State prisoners released after serving time for rape or sexual assault were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be re-arrested for rape or sexual assault during the 9 years following their release, the Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today.  Released sex offenders represented 5% of prisoners released in 2005 and 16% of post-release arrests for rape or sexual assault during the 9-year follow-up period.

The BJS study tracked a representative sample of prisoners released in 2005 in the 30 states that were responsible for 77% of all state prisoners released nationwide and examined their arrests through 2014.  An estimated 7.7% of released sex offenders were arrested for rape or sexual assault during the 9-year follow up period, versus 2.3% of other released prisoners.

While rape and sexual assault offenders were more likely than other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault, they were less likely than other released prisoners to be arrested for other crimes. About two-thirds (67%) of released sex offenders were arrested at least once for any type of crime during the 9 years following their release, compared to about five-sixths (84%) of other released prisoners.  Almost all prisoners who were re-arrested (96% of released sex offenders and 99% of all released offenders) were arrested for an offense other than a probation or parole violation.

This is BJS’s first recidivism study on sex offenders with a 9-year follow-up period. Fewer than half of released sex offenders were arrested for any crime within the first 3 years of release, while more than two-thirds were arrested within 9 years.  About 3 in 10 released sex offenders were arrested during their first year after release.  About 1 in 5 were arrested during their fifth year after release, and nearly 1 in 6 were arrested during their ninth year....

Overall, half of sex offenders released from prison had a subsequent arrest that led to a conviction.  However, sex offenders were less likely than all released prisoners to have a new arrest resulting in a conviction.  Within 3 years of release, 28% of persons released after serving a sentence for rape or sexual assault had an arrest that led to a conviction, compared to 49% of all released prisoners. At the end of the 9-year follow-up, 50% of sex offenders and 69% of all released prisoners had a new arrest that led to a conviction.

Sex offenders were more likely than other released prisoners to receive longer sentences and to be granted unconditional releases from prison.  The median sentence length for sex offenders was 60 months versus 36 months for all state prisoners released in 30 states in 2005.  About 32% of sex offenders were granted an unconditional release and not placed on parole, probation or some other form of community supervision. About 26% of all released prisoners were granted an unconditional release.

BJS also has created this one-page summary of the report.  In short form, this report details that sex offenders released from state prison in 2005 were less likely to be arrested for any offense than other released prisoners, but they were more likely to be arrested for a sex offense than other released prisoners.  And, as I have said before based other data from this BJS set, recidivism rates for everyone released from state prison in 2005 have been depressingly high.  It is worth emphasizing, though, that these data are focused on prisoners released back in 2005, a time when there was relatively little interest in prison rehabilitation programming or in aiding prisoner reentry.  I am hopeful that recent state reforms on these fronts might be now producing lower recidivism numbers, but only time will tell.

May 30, 2019 at 09:33 AM | Permalink

Comments

There is something fishy here. I've seen a ton of studies like this: federal, different states, all states, other countries, and the recidivism rates for sex offenders is very very low. Over and over again.

I can't make out what they are saying here. And the percentage is astoundingly high. And this is the first time I've ever seen figures that high.

I don't have time to analyze this study, but it just does not seem like it could be correct.

Posted by: restless94110 | May 31, 2019 2:10:17 AM

restless, there are many ways recidivism can be measured/reported, and this study uses the broadest possible measure by focusing on arrest rates (rather than convictions or re-imprisonment) and by tracking offenders for a full nine years. This means a former offender released in 2005 who was arrested in 2013 for, say, possessing heroin or drunk driving will be count as a recidivist under this study.

In addition, though the data show released sex offender are more likely to be arrested for a sex offense than other released prisoners, the number is still pretty low --- e.g., roughly 12 out of every 13 sex offenders released from prison in 2005 did NOT get arrested for another sex offender over the next decade.

Posted by: Doug B | May 31, 2019 10:13:23 AM

How much is based on hysteria by the court system?
How many were non-citizens with violent culture?
How many were for court system profit?
How many served their full term claiming innocence and were forced on probation?
How many admitted guilt and slapped on the hand and released?
How many committed murder?
So many unanswered questions, justice is not equal to all.

Posted by: LC in Texas | May 31, 2019 10:56:45 AM

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