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: 4.38). 07/2003; 989:154-66; discussion 236-46. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2003.tb07303.x
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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    ABSTRACT: Despite an extensive research literature on sexual offending, much of current sexual offender policy within the United States runs counter to such literature, and instead, is based on common, pervasive myths about sexual offenders. Not surprisingly, recent studies on sex offender policy effectiveness suggest that current approaches are both costly and largely ineffective. In this paper, we suggest that a longstanding socio-cultural climate of sex-negativity fuels common fears and misconceptions about sexual offending and about policy related to treatment and supervision. We present a positive sexuality model and consider how the effectiveness of dealing with sexual offending issues could be improved through using a positive sexuality approach to guide policy.
    Critical Criminology 09/2015; 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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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have validated the psychometric properties of the Static-99, the most widely used measure of sexual offender recidivism risk. However much of this research relied on instrument coding completed by well-trained researchers. This study is the first to examine the interrater reliability (IRR) of the Static-99 between practitioners in the field and researchers. Using archival data from a sample of 1,973 formerly incarcerated sex offenders, field raters' scores on the Static-99 were compared with those of researchers. Overall, clinicians and researchers had excellent IRR on Static-99 total scores, with IRR coefficients ranging from "substantial" to "outstanding" for the individual 10 items of the scale. The most common causes of discrepancies were coding manual errors, followed by item subjectivity, inaccurate item scoring, and calculation errors. These results offer important data with regard to the frequency and perceived nature of scoring errors.
    International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology 07/2013; 58(11). DOI:10.1177/0306624X13495504 · 0.84 Impact Factor
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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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    ABSTRACT: Most follow-up investigations of the effectiveness of specialized treatment for adolescents who have offended sexually have not included a comparison group. Furthermore, the average length of most previous studies is approximately 5 years. This investigation is a 10-year extension of our prospective, 10-year follow-up study of specialized treatment (Worling & Curwen, 2000). Recidivism data (criminal charges) were collected from a national database for 148 adolescents who had offended sexually. Adolescents were between 12 and 19 years of age (M = 15.5; SD = 1.5) at assessment, and the follow-up interval spanned from 12 to 20 years (M = 16.23; SD = 2.02). Relative to the comparison group (n = 90), adolescents who participated in specialized treatment (n = 58) were significantly less likely to receive subsequent charges for sexual, nonsexual violent, and nonviolent crimes. These data add to the growing body of research supporting the effectiveness of specialized treatment for individuals who have offended sexually.
    Behavioral Sciences & the Law 01/2010; 28(1):46-57. DOI:10.1002/bsl.912 · 0.96 Impact Factor
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