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Sex offender Registration and Recidivism

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Jilliann Notarianni

SOCS 2300 – 202

Professor Tarlaian

April 20, 2015

Sex Offender Registration and Recidivism

        According to the FBI, in 2013 a rape occurs every 6.6 minutes. According to the legacy definition of rape, 90,178 (per 100,000 inhabitants) rapes occurred in 2000. In 2013, this figure decreased to 79,700 (per 100,000 inhabitants). The preliminary number of incidents of sexual offences in 2014 (January – June) was 69,979. Based on the numbers, sex offender registration laws appear to be doing what they were intended. They are deterring new criminals from committing sexual offences while deterring prior criminal from reoffending (www.FBI.gov).

        Hypersexuality and recidivism are related when dealing with sexual offenders. The hypersexual activities consume the person’s mind with sexual thoughts that lead convicted sex offenders to reoffend shortly after their release from prison. These thoughts usually begin during the adolescent years and continue through adulthood. There are also other common traits that are shared among offenders, and several risk factors that contribute to them reoffending.

        Between the years of 1982 and 1996, 586 adult men, age range 18 – 78 years (average age 38.1 years), were assessed at a Sexual Behaviors Clinic affiliated with the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research. All the participants had been charged or convicted of a sexual crime (86 participants were charged with a sexual crime against an adult; 295 participants were charged with a sexual crime against a child under the age of 16 that were related to the offender; 205 participants were charged with a sexual crime against a child under the age of 16 that were unrelated to the offender). Approximately 97% of the participants had some form of prior criminal offence (17% had at least one prior charge for a previous sexual offence; 32% had previous violent (including sexual) offences; 48% had prior criminal offences) (Kingston 94-95).

        Recidivism data was obtained from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), which is a national database of criminal arrests and convictions. The categories of recidivism included: sexual recidivism (any charge or conviction for a sexual offence) and violent recidivism (any charge or conviction for a violent and/or sexual offence). The participant’s follow-up time and opportunity for recidivism was dependent on their initial assessment date at the clinic. The at-risk period was calculated on the latest of three possible incidents: (a) date of conviction; (b) date of assessment; or (c) date of release if incarcerated. The risk period ended when either a new charge or conviction occurred or there was no recidivism was evident (Kingston 96).  

        The results of this study show that hypersexual behavior is linked to recidivism in people convicted of a sexual offence. The overall rate of recidivism in sexual offenders in 16.7% for a repeat sexual offense and 27.5% for a repeat violent offence over a 20 year period. However, because many of the participants fell below the mark to be considered hypersexual, this changed the study to compare recidivism between hypersexual criminal and criminals without hypersexual activity. Using the Sex Offender Risk Appraisal Guide (SORAG) scores as a control to the study they were able to get an accurate control to measure by. This study only adds to the argument of the correlation between hypersexuality and recidivism among previous sexual offenders. The presence of hypersexuality increased the possibility of recidivism by 9% (Kingston 97-100).

        A study of young adult males, ages 12-25, conducted at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University discusses the risks that minors charged with multiple sexual offences over their youth face and the likelihood of them reoffending. This study is a compiling of data from other studies done on this topic. This study helps to determine certain traits/characteristics that sexual offenders have and how they can be used to prevent offenders from reoffending (Riser 10-11).

        The adolescent years are the most influence in a young adult’s growth and development with many delinquent behaviors coming to light that carry into adulthood. This study looks at factors that relate to recidivism, such as psychopathy. “Approximately 40 – 50% of adolescent rapists and 10 – 15% of adolescent offenders who molest children (age 12 – 18) met the criteria for psychopathy,” (Riser 13). Another factor which the study focuses on is the family environment of the adolescent; many offenders live in single-parent or foster homes.

        There are certain traits that adolescent offenders have that are precursors to recidivism. Many of the adolescents in the study committed offences while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Also, the offenders that are more likely to molest children are the least likely to use force, where others were more likely to use violence. Reoffenders that were involved in this study often grew up with abuse themselves, and therefore struggle with masculinity and everyday relationships. Discovering the traits that lead to a criminal reoffending can help find warning signs and prevent adolescents to commit sexual offences. Adolescent, young adult, and adult sexual offenders have several overlapping characteristics that may predict recidivism. However, which immediate treatment adolescents are more likely to respond to treatment and are less likely to reoffend (Riser 23).

        Another study from the University of Detroit Mercy focuses on the risk factors. This study focuses on the juvenile’s living in residential treatment facilities and their risk for recidivism. Recidivism data was collected at various points, ranging 7 months to 8.9 years. The data was collected upon entrance to a lockdown treatment facility and upon release from the facility. The recidivism rate for this group was 40.16%. Breaking this rate down, the highest rate of recidivism was among the psychopathy group, followed by the impulsive/reactive group with 42.2% and the least likely to recidivate was the anxious/inhibited group with 27.3% (Calley 258).

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