Recidivism 102—Sexual Recidivism Stats by Various Studies – Compiled by Derek W. Logue of OnceFallen.com
This report is a supplement to Once Fallen’s Recidivism 101 article. This chart only consists of raw data contained within the reports.
Recidivism is defined as the tendency of a convicted criminal to “reoffend.” According to the book “Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in Modern America” by Philip Jenkins (1998), the term was introduced into the English language in 1880 (p.39-40). Only since the late 1800s have we thought in terms of defining people by the propensity to reoffend rather than by proven acts. Recidivism/reoffense rates vary greatly due to the lack of a universal standard of recidivism criteria.
In an effort to provide as close to a univeral standard as possible, recidivism studies below all have similar characteristics:
- These studies provide data for sex offense recidivism. When discussing sex offenses think of a person convicted of a sex offense who later committed another offense, but some studies may include technical violations, Failure to Register, or non-sex offenses in recidivism numbers. That may true even with some studies listed below.
- The studies below Re-arrest rates and reconviction rates. Even within this narrow definition, however, there is no universal standard by which these studies follow. Many studies after 2003 have tried emulating the US Department of Justice survey, but not all follow the pattern.
- I have limited this chart to American re-offense studies because other nations disagree with the USA on what constitutes a sex offense.
- Under re-arrest and re-conviction rate headings, the numbers in parentheses are actual number of recidivists when listed in the study. Unfortunately not all studies gave the actual numbers, just the percentages who reoffended.
A number of valid recidivism studies have been excluded from this chart primarily because they did not cover re-arrest/ reconviction rates, are studies from other countries, or were too vague to determine the numbers needed here. This is thus not exhaustive, but is comprehensive of those American Recidivism studies with re-arrest or reconviction stats.
HOW LONG HAVE WE KNOWN RECIDIVISM RATES WERE LOW?
At least since the 1940s, possibly sooner. See Current Notes, 34 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 322 (1943-1944), subsection “The (New York City) Mayor’s Committee Reports on the Study of Sex Offenses.” This publication noted that out of 555 persons convicted of sex offenses in 1930, only 40 (7%) were arrested for the same charge between 1930-1941 (11 years). Sex offense reoffense rates were extremely low in the absense of a public registry.
*Indiana, NY state and Ohio studies used reincarceration as the recidivism standard. Recidivism rates can include sex-related technical violations, but these numbers do not reflect technical violations.
**The 2019 BJS study omitted actual numbers in favor of percentages, only adding that only half of arrests led to a conviction; in addition, the BJS omitted inmates released who had not been currently incarcerated for a sexual offense but had a sex offense in their criminal history, inflating the rearrest numbers to 7.7%. This is discussed in full detail in the OnceFallen article on the “UNIQUE THREAT MYTH“
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. “Five Year Recidivism Follow-Up Of Sex Offender Releases.” August 1996
- New York State Department of Correctional Services, Division of Program Planning, Research and Evaluation. “Profile and Follow-up of Sex
Offenders released in 1986.” July 1996
- Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning and Statistical Analysis Center. “THE IOWA SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY AND RECIDIVISM.” December 2000. http://www.humanrights.iowa.gov/cjjp/images/pdf/01_pub/SexOffenderReport.pdf
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, “Ten Year Recidivism Follow-up of 1989 Sex Offender Releases.” April 2001. http://www.drc.
- US Department of Justice, “Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released into the Community in 1994.” Nov. 2003. https://bjs.ojp.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsorp94.pdf
- Washington State Institute for Public Policy. “SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES.” August 26, 2005.
- Michelle L. Meloy, “The Sex Offender Next Door: An Analysis of Recidivism, Risk Factors, and Deterrence of Sex Offenders on Probation.” Criminal Justice Policy Review, Volume 16, Number 2, June 2005. p. 211-236
- eAdvocate, “CHART: Michigan Recidivism Rates: All released sex offenders -vs- non-sex offenders.” May 5, 2009. Information was extrapolated from Annual Michigan Department of Corrections, Statistical Report, Parole Board Charts D2 and D2a, years 1990 through 2000. Technical violations not included. The Statistical reports for years 1998 to current can be found under the “Publications and information” section of the Michigan Dept. of Correcctions website, http://www.michigan.gov/corrections/0,4551,7-119-1441—,00.html.
- Alaska Judicial Council. “Criminal Recidivism in Alaska.” January 2007. This study does not break down the number or registrants nor the exact number rearrested in the study. This was a study a all criminals, not just registered citizens
- Indiana Dept. of Correction. “Recidivism Rates Compared 2005-2007.” May 2007. http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/05_07RecidivismRpt.pdf.
- Arizona Dept. of Corrections. “Sex Offender Recidivism.” 2007. http://www.rsova.info/reports/az_sorecidivism1984-1998.pdf ;
- Minnesota Dept. of Corrections, “Sex Offender Recidivism in Minnesota.” April 2007.
- Ibid. I added this stat because it was in the study. The MInn. DOC points out overall rearrest and reconviction rates lowered as a result of increased supervision and treatment of sex offenders. I’d also like to add the year average came from people followed between three and sixteen years.
- California Sex Offender Management Board. “RECIDIVISM OF PAROLED SEX OFFENDERS—TEN (10) YEAR STUDY.” June 2008
- Stan Orchowsky and Janice Iwama. “Improving State Criminal History Records: Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released in 2001.” Justice Research and Statistics Association, November 2009. Table 5, p. 17. http://www.jrsa.org/projects/sex-offender-final-report.pdf
- Arizona Criminal Justice Commission. “Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from the Arizona Department of Corrections in 2001.” Feb. 2009
- USM Muskie School of Public Service, Maine Statistical Analysis Center, “SEXUAL ASSAULT TRENDS AND SEX OFFENDER RECIDIVISM IN
MAINE.” October 2010. This study divided sex offenders into two groups—341 released from prison and 569 RSOs on probation. The recidivism
rates were the same between the two groups (3.8% and 3.9%, respectively). Thus, combining the total numbers does not influence the results.
- Richard Tewksbury, Wesley G. Jennings and Kristen M. Zgoba. “A longitudinal examination of sex offender recidivism prior to and following the
implementation of SORN.” Behav. Sci. Law 30: 308–328 (2012)
- State of Connecticut, Office of Policy and Management, Criminal Justice Policy & Planning Division. “Recidivism among sex offenders in
Connecticut.” February 15, 2012
- Jill S. Levenson, Ph.D. & Ryan T. Shields, M.S. “SEX OFFENDER RISK AND RECIDIVISM IN FLORIDA.” 2012
- Ibid. Because Levenson and Shields randomly selected 250 registrants from 1999-2000 and 250 registrants from 2004-2005 to conduct the study, they could combine five year recidivism rates for both groups but could only get 10 year rates from the 1999-2000 group of 250.
- Kristen M. Zgoba, Michael Miner, Raymond Knight, Elizabeth Letourneau, Jill Levenson, David Thornton. “A Multi-State Recidivism Study Using
Static-99R and Static-2002 Risk Scores and Tier Guidelines from the Adam Walsh Act.” November 2012. Table 7, p.20
- Consortium for Crime and Justice Research, U. of Nebraska – Omaha. “Nebraska Sex Offender Registry Study.” July 31, 2013. Table 5, p.20
- Ibid. Table 6, p.21
- Vermont Center for Justice Research. “SEXUAL CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN: A STUDY OF OFFENDER RECIDIVISM.” January, 2013.
- Barbara Levine & Elsie Kettunen. “Paroling people who committed serious crimes: What is the actual risk?” Citizens Alliance on Prisons & Public
Spending, Dec. 1, 2014
- “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010: Supplemental Tables: Most serious commitment offense and types of post-release arrest charges of prisoners released in 30 states in 2005.” US Dept. of Justice, Dec. 2016.
- Seung C. Lee, Alejandro Restrepo, Annie Satariano, & R. Karl Hanson. “The Predictive Validity of Static-99R for Sexual Offenders in California: 2016 Update.” State Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders (CA) Committee. Gov’t Report. July 13, 2016. http://www.saratso.
- Mariel Alper, Ph.D.,and Matthew R. Durose. “Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from State Prison: A 9-Year Follow-Up (2005-14).” BJS.gov.
May 2019. Accessed 8 June 2019 At https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsorsp9yfu0514.pdf