Article

Sexual offender recidivism risk: What we know and what we need to know

Corrections Research, Department of the Solicitor General of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8, Canada.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 4.31). 07/2003; 989:154-66; discussion 236-46.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT If all sexual offenders are dangerous, why bother assessing their risk to reoffend? Follow-up studies, however, typically find sexual recidivism rates of 10%-15% after five years, 20% after 10 years, and 30%-40% after 20 years. The observed rates underestimate the actual rates because not all offences are detected; however, the available research does not support the popular notion that sexual offenders inevitably reoffend. Some sexual offenders are more dangerous than others. Much is known about the static, historical factors associated with increased recidivism risk (e.g., prior offences, age, and relationship to victims). Less is known about the offender characteristics that need to change in order to reduce that risk. There has been considerable research in recent years demonstrating that structured risk assessments are more accurate than unstructured clinical assessments. Nevertheless, the limitations of actuarial risk assessments are sufficient that experts have yet to reach consensus on the best methods for combining risk factors into an overall evaluation.

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Available from: R.Karl Karl Hanson, Aug 15, 2014
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    • "These factors seem to facilitate pervasive myths concerning sexual offenders, including that: (1) sexual offenders and their motivations are all the same (a homogenous population ); (2) almost all sexual offenders will reoffend; and (3) sexual offender treatment is ineffective (Quinn et al. 2004). These myths are so prevalent that even law enforcement and clinical professionals frequently believe them (Hanson cited in Kersting 2003; Meloy et al. 2013). A recent study by Meloy et al. (2013) confirmed that recent sexual offender legislation was created based on pervasive sexual offending myths and that many policymakers believe current sexual offender policy is effective in ensuring public safety. "
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    Critical Criminology 01/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10612-015-9270-y
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    • "Discrepancy due to subjectivity of item, identified as a discrepancy resulting from subjective judgment required in scoring the item. Hanson, Morton, and Harris (2003) suggested that the only subjectively scored item is whether the offender is " single " (has the offender lived with a partner for more than 2 years). As this information is not always clear from a historical account of relationship history, scoring may result in more subjective judgment. "
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    • ") . With our mean follow - up period of 16 years , however , we found an overall sexual recidivism rate ( collapsed across treatment and comparison groups ) of approximately 16% . This is markedly lower than the 15 - year sexual recidivism rate of 24% reported for adults who offend sexually ( Hanson et al . , 2003 ) . From an inspection of Figures 1 – 4 , it appears that most sexual and nonsexual recidivism occurs in the first few years after adolescents are initially assessed . Indeed , there appears to be a significant flattening of the slope of the survival curves at about the 10 - year mark for both treatment and comparison participants . Thi"
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