July 9, 2008

New Scientist reports low sex offender recidivism

Peter Aldhous over at New Scientist is reporting on the declining rates of sex offending in California, which I blogged about on June 23 (click here), as well as similar reported declines in Minnesota. The article, "Sex offenders unlikely to commit second crime," begins like this:
Sex crime statistics tend to make depressing reading, but now there is some good news from the most populous state in the US. Just 3.2 per cent of more than 4,000 sex offenders released on parole in 2002 were re-imprisoned for another sex offence in the subsequent 5 years, according to new figures from California.

While experts know that sex offenders are less likely to reoffend than most other criminals (New Scientist, 24 February 2007, p 3), the very low rate of re-imprisonment in the new study will challenge public perceptions about the risks these criminals pose.

The figures are broadly consistent with a 2007 Minnesotan study, which found that 3.2 per cent of sex offenders released from 1990 to 2002 had been re-imprisoned for a further sex crime within 3 years of their release.

What's more, sex offenders in Minnesota are even less likely to reoffend....
Unfortunately, you have to subscribe to read the remainder of the article, as well as prior coverage of this topic by Mr. Aldhous. However, my June 23 blog post on the new California data is here, and the Minnesota recidivism study is online here. A comprehensive, 225-page report by researchers on behalf of the California Sex Offender Management Board is online here. The data on 5- and 10-year recidivism are a bit hidden at the CSOMB website, but you can get them HERE and HERE, respectively.

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