Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Startling new statistics on sex offender recidivism

I just ran across an article in the Albany Times Union, Did the government fail to protect victim from predator? The article described the case of Keith Dare, who was recently convicted of a repeat sex offense. The article shared some statistics which were related by Peter Cutler, a spokesman for the state prison system:

Cutler said statistics suggest Dare's case is an anomaly. Of the 663 inmates who were released in 2006 after serving prison time for sex offenses, only 49 -- or 7.3 percent -- returned to prison over the next three years, Cutler said. And of those 49, he said, only three returned for sexual offenses.

I discovered that the Department of Corrections report on 2006 releases was available online.

Mr. Cutler's figures were a little off. The recidivism rate is actually lower.

A total of 990 sex offenders (not 663 as indicated by Mr. Cutler) were released from state prisons in 2006. Mr. Cutler was correct in stating that 49 of these were returned to prison within 3 years for a new crime, making a recidivism rate for any new crime of 4.9% (not 7.3% as the article indicates).

The article was correct that only 3 of these were returned for new sex offenses. This indicates a recidivism rate of 0.3% for sex offenders released in 2006 in terms of committing new sex crimes.

You can check these figures for yourself by looking at the charts on pages 10, 45, & 46.

This is notable in that the NY legislature keeps passing new sex offender legislation which includes such language as "The rate of recidivism among sex offenders is very high."

P.S. There is a chart on page 11 of the report that indicates that sex offenders have a "return rate" of 37.1%. It is important to note that this includes those who have been returned to prison for parole violations, not just those who were convicted of new crimes. This overall return rate is somewhat less than that for all prison releases. When anyone (politicians or otherwise) quotes recidivism rates, it is important to pay attention to the details.


Rita said...

Law makers that continue to push bills that are based on misleading information is a disservice to their constituents. Cosmetic bills continue to waste taxpayer dollars and mislead the public into a false sense of security. We are now overloading the prison system with low level offenders. We should focus our energies and resources on high risk offenders and laws that are based on research and reason.

Anonymous said...

These statistics are neither new nor startling. Decision making has been fear and hysteria based for years. I used to be one of those fearful people; I've now educated myself on this issue and what an eye- opener!

francis easter said...

I am still in shock at how the law makers can go contrary to the constitutional rights of the people.
The sex offender registry laws clearly volate the ex post facto restriction of the constitution in many cases.
mine for example is a result of a plea bargain in 1971. But now I am required to register as an aggravated, recidivist offender. (every 90 days)
I do not have the freedom to move around the state, and lets not even consider going out of state.
I have been told by authorities if i continue to vent (freedom of speech) it will go badly for me.
Being part of a social organization on line, or even in my church is a violation.
The law does not even consider the fact that the majority of on line offenders have never been convicted before thier arrest of using the internet to lure victims.
at any rate you know where i am goin with this. for that reason i will desist for now.

francis easter said...

it has been over 3 weeks since i posted and no reply.

am i lookin in the wrong places?

David Hess said...

Francis, If you want a continuing conversation about this, I suggest you join the forum at http://forum.sohopefulny.org

Hank said...

There is a very good new tool for offenders to anonymously express their remorse and feelings regarding their crimes at www.offendnomore.com ... thank you so much for your blog, it is very helpful! :)

Anonymous said...

Considering upwards of 40% of sexual crimes go unreported and or those crimes are often pled down your stats make no sense whatsoever.

francis easter said...

I have been upgraded as an aggravated offender because I have been convicted of 3 new charges, not sex related, but new convictions.
am at present contesting the statues in nc because my conviction was from a guilty plea in 1971

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