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"96.5% of new sex offenses are committed by someone who has never committed a sex offense before!"
As Shown

When sex offenders are released from their prison and sent back into the community, the majority of them (but not all according to state law) are required to register with their local police agency. Legislatures and the general community believe that, new sex offenses are committed by these former offenders. While that is a myth, we can now present some hard facts to prove our claim.

To make sense of this issue we searched for a "Victim Study" which showed the number of offenses according to victims. Here is what we found. The United States Department of Justice has a report called "Criminal Victimization in the United States, 1994," published in May of 1997. In 1994 victims reported 432,750 incidents.

Although that report has later versions, we used 1994 to be consistent with the latest sex offender recidivism statistics, "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994, also published by the US Department of Justice, published in November 2003.

The DoJ reported 3.5% of those sex offenders released were RECONVICTED for another sex crime, within 3 years, following their release. (DoJ Pg-24) see note below.

Accordingly, in 1994 victims reported 432,750 incidents. In 1994 3.5% of sex offenders released from prison (those who had previously committed one or more sex offenses) committed another sex offense (recidivated within 3-years of release).

The math: (100% - 3.5% = 96.5%) 96.5% of 432,750 = 417,603 committed by someone other than a former sex offender released from prison.
What more needs to be said?

Note: We do recognize that the 3.5% reconviction rate is over 3-years. When switching between rearrest, reconviction, recidivates, recidivism etc. all this muddys the waters and requires a careful read of what is being said. Part of the explanation is, when a person "recidivates" -that act whenever committed-, is rarely taken to court in the same year, reconviction -if any- would more likely be in the next year. Also it has been proven that most recidivism (actual acts) occurs in the first year following release. pg-16 DoJ. We also didn't feel a simple divide by 3 was fair either, so we just erred on the side of caution, and used 3.5% as an yearly figure.

Further Proof

Further proof that non-sex offenders commit more sex offenses than previously convicted sex offenders is found right within that DoJ Study:
DoJ pg-24 has this comment:
"The 15 States in this study released a total of 272,111 prisoners. The 9,691 released sex offenders made up less than 4% of that total. Of the remaining 262,420 non-sex offenders, 3,328 (1.3%) were RE-ARRESTED for a new sex crime within 3-years (not shown in table [12]). By comparison, the 5.3% REARREST rate for the 9,691 released sex offenders was 4-times higher. ..."
Here they are working with REARREST numbers not RECONVICTION numbers. Lets translate this into some hard numbers:
ReleasedOffendersReArrested for a New Sex OffenseNew Sex Offenses% of New Sex Offenses
9,691Sex Offenders5.3%51713%
262,420Non-Sex Offenders1.3%3,32887%
272,211All Offenders Released1.4%3,845100%
What this proves is, that non-sex offenders released from prison are the more dangerous group for committing new sex offenses. This study shows, that 87% of all new sex crimes committed by released prisoners, were committed by those who were not in prison for a sex offense.

In 2000 the Colorado Department of Corrections prepared a 50-State Study (495 pgs PDF) of prison sex offender therapy programs, it shows, that of the 15 states [note] within the DoJ study, three do not have a prison sex offender therapy program: California, Florida and Oregon. Can you imagine how low the recidivism rate would be without those states?

One interesting fact is, all this is before the beginning of sex offender registries; actually shows they are not justified. One day when a new recidivism study is published, we can again compare this calculation. For now this is the best available, backed by victim and offender statistics.

We need to constantly ask "Legislators," why they continually focus new more restrictive legislation on ALL registered sex offenders, when they have the lowest recidivism rate, and legislators ignore the group committing "96.5% of new sex offenses," persons who have never before committed a sex offense?

The collateral effect on society from this legislative stance is a disaster, not only are offender lives being destroyed, but the legislation is harmful to the children and families of previously convicted sex offenders!


note: Total sex offenders released (9,691) and participated in DoJ study: Arizona (122); California (3,395); Delaware (45); Florida (965); Illinois (710); Maryland (243); Michigan (444); Minnesota (239); New Jersey (429); New York (692); North Carolina (441); Ohio (606); Oregon (408); Texas (692); Virginia (260). (DoJ pg-39)

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