The Department of Justice Bureau of statistics has put out another report “Recidivism of sex offenders released from state prison a nine-year follow-up 2005-14.” This is another attempt to muddy the waters by the Department of Justice in relation to the re-offense rate of people on the registry. First of all, this is not a valid study for evaluating the amount of recidivism by the 900,000+ people that are registered citizens. This is in fact a limited study of a small group of people that were released from prisons in 2005 and when I say a small group it is limited to rapists and sexual abusers, it does not take into account all the other types of sexual misconduct that will result in a criminal conviction and may or may not spend prison time as well as resulting in a listing on the registry. Although the authors of this 35 page long “study” attempted to conceal the truth with its all kinds of extraneous information that is unrelated to the underlying title of the document, the true information about registrants’ conviction rates is still there, you just have to dig for it.
From my point of view this is a prime example of adversarial alliance or of people that actually have a fiduciary interest in continuing the mythology about high re-offense rates. They also quite obviously did their best to hide the true information. There are very few hard numbers used in the document, it is all percentages and in fact in some cases, it’s percentages of percentages of percentages. This not only makes it confusing and hard to read, but also leads to a faults narrative. Even with all this we have been able to pull out prime information that helps to prove, even with this particular group of people which could be considered the worst of the worst, that their yearly re-offense rate during the nine-year period is less than 1% !!! One of the statements that they used to demonize people with sexual convictions, which is within the highlights of their very first page, states “sex offenders released are more than three times more likely than other release prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault.” This information is totally false in that again, it relies on percentages of percentages instead of real numbers, Actuality of the new sex crimes that were committed by all release prisoners that were later convicted by those who had NOT had a prior sexual conviction, they were over 5 1/2 times more likely to be involved in a new sex crime then people with prior sexual convictions. And I found that of the 20,195 that had prior convictions for sex crimes that were released, only 778 were reconvicted of a new sex crime. Remember in this country a person is not considered guilty until they have been reconvicted. So the use of re-arrest records does nothing except prove that a lot of people with prior sexual convictions were falsely charged with crimes that they would not be convicted of later. The media has found out that attempting to proclaim a person guilty of a crime without a court sentence can be very costly. That is why news media now refers to people that have not been convicted in a number of ways such as the accused. Perhaps it’s time that social scientists started getting sued for implying that just because a person is arrested it means that they did the crime. From my point of view a number of high dollar lawsuits against social scientist for false information might force them to produce truthful and accurate information without twisting it into pretzels.
Let’s see what kind of hard data we can get out of this report: the total number of prisoners released was 401,288, of those 381,093 had not had a prior sexual conviction and 20,195 had a sexual conviction. We know that 7.7% or 1555 of the 20,195 with a prior sexual conviction were rearrested for another sex crime, but less than half of those were reconvicted which comes out to be 3.8% or 778. This gives you an average yearly re-offense rate, over the nine-year period, of 4/10 of one percent of 1% and that would be for the “worst of the worst” sexual offenders — rape and sexual assault offenders.
We have no way of knowing the yearly numbers because table 5 only deals with arrests not convictions they also did the graph in the deceiving manner showing the cumulative percentage rather than the actual yearly re-offense rates but there was enough data there for us to come up with this information. In the first year of release .5% or one half of 1% were rearrested, in the second year 1.6%, in the third year 9/10 of 1%, in the fourth year 7/10 of 1%, in the 5th year 8/10 of 1%, in the 6th year 4/10 of 1%, in the seventh year 6/10 of 1%, in the eighth year 7/10 of 1%, and in the 9th year 1/10 of 1%. Only in the second year is the re-offense rate above 1%. When you add them together you get a total of 7.7%, but remember that only half of those arrested ended in convictions, so the overall re-conviction rate was not 7.7% but 3.8%. So, by plugging in that data and making the assumption that all of the offenders listed are yearly percentages in table 5 but are one half percentages shown because the table is talking about arrests and not convictions, we end up in every case of a reconviction percentage, one half of what has just been shown in the chart. For example in the first year rather than 5/10 of 1% the actual number is 25/100 of one percent. This is the data that they buried in their report hoping that no one would actually break it down. Note the highest percentage was the second year at 1.6% for rearrest, that means that even in the highest year the reconviction rate for that year would’ve been 8/10 of 1%.
It should also be pointed out that this study proves that the longer a person lives in the community after there release date, the lower their re-offense rate becomes! The vast majority of convicted sexual re-offenses happened in the first 2 years after release from prison, so the longer a person is allowed to reorient themselves into the community, the less chance there is for a re-offense. It thereby proves that lengthy times, such as lifetime registration, is extremely counterproductive, because after about ten years of living offense free in the community, the conviction rate becomes far less than that of the public at large, yet the collateral damage for the offender and their family continues on. Additional years on a registry becomes a complete waste of the resources of law enforcement. Note, in the final year of the study the rearrest rate for the sex offenders study was 1/10 of 1% based on arrests, so when you put in the 50% reconviction rate, you end up with a final year percentage of 5/100 of one percent.
As for the rest of the report, it needs to be pointed out that they couldn’t even keep their data straight from table to table. In their information on the first page, they state “half of released sex offenders had a substantial arrest that led to a conviction” yet then in another place it states uses a percentage of 49.1%, which while close to half is not the same in a stastic based study. Such inconsistencies are present throughout this report.
In conclusion, working with the hard data, we have shown that the reconviction rates for people release from prison during the time of the study was less than 1% in every year of the study, and that the overall average reconviction rate was only 4/10 of one percent per year. We have also proven that their statement “sex offenders released are more than three times more likely than other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault” while on its face true within the perameters of how they framed s study, is not at all accurate! It is using mumbo-jumbo wordsmithing to arrive at that conclusion. The fact is that of the 401,288 total re-release prisoners 10,434 went on after release, to be involved in a new sex crime and of those new sex crimes the prisoners without prior sexual conviction were responsible for 8879 new sex crimes whereas the people with prior sexual convictions were responsible for 1555 again these are rearrest numbers not re-conviction numbers. But using those numbers, it means that those released who did not have a prior sexual conviction were 5.6 times more likely to be involved in the new sex crime than people with the prior sexual conviction.
Finially, even though this study shows exceptionally low reconviction rates for a new sex crime among people with prior sexual convictions, it is in fact, a very limited study because it does not take into it count all of the people that have been put on the registry for long periods of time without any new conviction. There are only two studies that I know of, that actually looked at a total state registry or a large section of a entire state registry; one was done looking at the entire Nebraska state registry and another one was done looking at 21,000 people that were suddenly added to the Ohio registry and then tracked for 15 years. These two studies are discussed in this article, ( /blog/2019/02/24/the-importations-of-reconviction-rates.html ) and in both cases they had an average re-offense rates of less than 1% per year.
It is also important to note that of that 10,434 sex crimes that were committed by released prisoners, it is only a very small percentage of the new sex crimes that were committed during the nine year. Although I do not have the exact number of new sex crimes per year, it has averaged around 66,000 per year with the vast majority (97%) of them being committed by first-time offenders. All released prisoners in this “new study” amounted to less then 2% of all of the new sex crimes committed during this nine year period.
This should be shouted from the rooftops, “people convicted of sexual offenses have been discriminated against by legislators, law enforcement, and victims advocates.” these types of groups have been accusing registered citizens of having a high probability to reoffend, where in fact they actually have the lowest re-offense rates of any criminal class, in the codification that justifies the laws, the government has quite clearly stated that the reason for the existence of the registry with it’s related laws, rules and regulations are based on the “supposedly high re-offense rate,” which is in fact a lie, thereby making these legislating laws rules and requirements a unconstitutional Bill of attainder in violation of both state and federal Constitution..