Sex Offender, SORR, and Recidivism Related Research and Studies

Below is a compilation of research and studies from multiple sources. If you come across a research study that is not included, please send us the link and we will add it.

California Report of the Sex Offender Management Board January 2016

A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment

Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming

Link to Report: https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf

Findings:Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision

Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up

 

Recidivism Of Sex Offenders Released From Prison 1994

By: Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., Erica L. Schmitt and Matthew R. Durose

Statisticians, Bureau of Justice Statistics

United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics

Findings:A Study of 9,691 sex offenders released from prisons in 15 states in 1994 and followed for 3 years.

Sex Crime Re-arrest Rate: 5.3%

Sex Crime Re-conviction Rate: 3.5%

Link To Report: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsorp94.pdf

 

SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES

BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy

A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years

 Findings:  Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7%

Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf

 

 

Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year

BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009

The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low.

Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%

Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf

 

Nebraska Sex Offender Recidivism Study

Sex offense recidivism. In comparing the old risk-based system of classification to the new offense-based system of classification, the former risk-based system resulted in less overall recidivism. Specifically, the pre-LB 285 classification system resulted in a 2-year recidivism rate of 1.7% and a 1-year recidivism rate of 0.6%. In comparison, the post-LB 285 classification system resulted in a 2-year recidivism rate of 2.6% and a 1-year recidivism rate of 1.7%. We also examined the effectiveness of each classification system in identifying offenders at the highest risk to reoffend. In general, the former system that utilized a psychological risk assessment tool consistently distinguished offenders who were at a high, medium,and low risk to reoffend. In comparison, the AWA system was very effective in distinguishing those at a high risk to reoffend from medium and low risk offenders.

However, the AWA classification system consistently failed to distinguish offenders at medium risk to recidivate from those at low risk to recidivate. Our findings suggest that, as an overall tool for identifying a nuanced risk to reoffend, the old risk-based system appears more effective. However, if the goal is simply to distinguish the highest risk offenders from everyone else, the Adam Walsh Act Tier system appears most effective. One caveat, however, is that this latter finding is in sharp contrast to published research on sex offenders in other states (Zgoba et al. 2012).

Complete Study: http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist20/files/2013/08/NE_sex_offender_recidivism.pdf

 

Connecticut Recidivism Study 2012

“The recidivism rates for new sex crimes, shown here for the 746 sex offenders released in 2005, are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict the conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high recidivism rates. In reality, the picture is considerably more complex. While some sex offenders certainly pose an extremely high risk for committing new offenses, this does not appear to be the case for the majority of offenders. The real challenge for public agencies is to determine the level of risk specific offenders pose to the public.”

http://www.ct.gov/opm/lib/opm/cjppd/cjresearch/recidivismstudy/sex_offender_recidivism_2012_final.pdf

 

California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13)

Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the lives of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety.

The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231

National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America.

The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual re offense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses.

The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=247350

The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483

Conclusion.
The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of non-effectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates.

The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483

These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community.

People including the media should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators as to the need for the laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. You should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following.

California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB)

Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% (page 38)

The full report is available online at.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_Research_Branch%2FResearch_documents%2FOutcome_evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei=C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ

Bureau of Justice Statistics
5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C.

Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today.

The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm

Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013

Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up
The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates.

The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf

Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy.

A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7%

Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf

Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009.

The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%

Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf

Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community.
No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so.

Evidence Based V. Emotion Based Public Policy

February 2014 California:

A ground breaking analysis of the facts by CSOMB:

Fact-1: Residence restrictions would not of protected Jessica

Action: Use resources to enforce registration laws and prosecute the non-compliant. California registration law violations are largely felonies, and are mandated prison sentences, exempt from realignment local custody only sentences.

Action: Use resources for sex offender treatment, to influence what the offender does, not where he/she lives. Note: In the 2010 Legislative Session, … ..Continued.. by California Sex Offender Management Board

Implementing Evidence Based Practices

Tiers-A Better Path to Community Re-entry in CA

ATSA 2014 SO Residence Restrictions

CSOM-Considerations-Emerging-Adult-Population

High Risk Offenders May Not Be High Forever

Understanding collateral consequences of registry laws: An examination of the perceptions of sex offender registrants

 The consumption of Internet child pornography and violent and sex offending

RECIDIVISM STUDIES

“Sex Offender Recidivism in Connecticut”, 2012

State of Connecticut, Office of Policy & Management

Study of 746 Male Offenders released from prison in 2005 – 5-year study

Re-arrest rate: 3.6% after 5-year follow-up

Re-conviction:  2.7% after 5-year follow-up

 

“A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment”, 2011

Vermont Department of Corrections

Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision

Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up

 

“Sexual Assault Trends & Sex Offender Recidivism in Maine”, 2010

Maine Statistical Analysis Center, USM Muskie School of Public Service

Study of 552 Male Offenders released from prison between 2004 and 2008

Re-conviction: 3.8% after 3-year follow-up

 

“Evaluating the Effectiveness of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Policies for Reducing Sexual Violence against Women”, 2010

Medical University of South Carolina

Study of 490 Male Offenders over a mean follow-up period of 8.4 years

Re-arrest rate: 8%

Re-conviction: 4%

 

 “Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report”, 2010

California Department of Corrections And Rehabilitation

Study of 7,011 Male Sex Offenders released from prison

Re-conviction: 5% after 3-year follow-up

 

“Improving State Criminal History Records: Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released in 2001”, 2009

Justice Research & Statistics Association

A Study of recidivism rates for 2,493 sex offenders released from prison in 9 states in 2001 – a 3-year follow-up study

Recidivism rates: AK 3.4%, AZ 2.3%, DE 3.8%, IL 2.4%, IA 3.9%,

NM 1.8%, SC 4%, TN 0%, UT 9%

 

“Recidivism of Alaska Sex Offenders”, 2008

Alaska Justice Forum, University of Alaska, Anchorage

A Study of 232 Offenders released from prison in 2001 – a 3-year follow-up study

Re-arrest rate: 3.4%

 

“Recidivism of Paroled Sex Offenders – Ten (10) Year Study”, 2008

California Sex Offender Management Board

A Study of 3,577 sex offenders released from CDCR prisons in 1997 and followed through the end of 2007

Returned to Custody due to new sex offense: 3.38%

 

“Recidivism Rates Compared 2005 – 2007”, 2008

Indiana Department of Correction

A Study of 339 sex offenders released from IDOC facilities in 2002, 382 released in 2003 and 387 released in 2004 and followed for 3 years

Recidivism rates: 2002 – 5.3%; 2003 – 5.2%; 2004 – 5.7%

 

“Sex Offender Populations, Recidivism and Actuarial Assessment”, 2007

New York State Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives

A Study of 19,827 offenders on the New York State registry on March 31, 2005 that examined recidivism up to 8 years from time of registration date

Recidivism Rate: 8%

 

“Sex Offender Recidivism”, 2007

Arizona Department of Corrections

A study of 3,205 sex offenders released from Arizona correctional facilities over a 15-year period between 1984 and 1998 with an average follow-up period of 6.85 years.

Recidivism Rate: 5.5%

 

“Sex Offender Recidivism in Minnesota”, 2007

Minnesota Department of Corrections

A study of 3,166 sex offenders released from Minnesota Correctional Facilities between 1990 and 2002 with an average follow-up period of 8.4 years

Re-arrest rate: 12%

Re-Conviction Rate: 10%

Re-incarceration: 7%

 

“Criminal Recidivism in Alaska”, 2007

Alaska Judicial Council

A Study that included 162 sex offenders charged and convicted of a sexual offense in 1999 and examined for 3 years following release

Re-Conviction Rate: 3%

 

“Sex Offender Sentencing in Washington State: Recidivism Rates”, 2005

Washington State Institute for Public Policy

A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years

Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7%

 

“Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994”, 2003

United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics

A Study of 9,691 sex offenders released from prisons in 15 states in 1994 and followed for 3 years.

Sex Crime Re-arrest Rate: 5.3%

Sex Crime Re-conviction Rate: 3.5%

 

“Ten Year Recidivism Follow-up of 1989 Sex Offender Releases”, 2001

Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

A study of 879 sex offenders released from prison in 1989 and followed for 10 years

Sex Crime Return to Incarceration: 8%

Sexually Related Parole Violations: 3%

 

REGISTRY EFFECTIVENESS

A Reasoned Approach: Reshaping Sex Offender Policy to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, 2011

Joan Tabachnick and Alisa Klein, Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers

A Policy Paper by the leading treatment organization treating sexual offenders, comprised of therapists, social workers, researchers, probation and parole officers that offers a comprehensive evidence-based approach to sex offender management. Among its observations:

“The broad application of legislative policies to adults, adolescents, and even children convicted of sexual abuse has created unintended negative consequences.”

And:

“Understanding the research on the diversity of individuals who sexually abuse can be tremendously helpful in creating policies that are effective and not overly broad.”

 

Perverted Justice:  Sex offender laws represent the triumph of outrage over reason., 2011

Jacob Sullum, Senior Editor, Reason Magazine, The Reason Foundation

An article from the leading libertarian thinktank. An excerpt from the article:

“American policies regarding sex offenders mark them as a special category of criminals for whom no stigma is too crippling, no regulations are too restrictive, and no penalty is too severe. This attitude, driven by fear and outrage, is fundamentally irrational, and so are its results, which make little sense in terms of justice or public safety. Like the lustful predators of their nightmares, Americans pondering the right way to deal with sex offenders seem captive to their passions.”

 

Do Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?, 2010

J.J. Prescott, 
University of Michigan Law School and Jonah E. Rockoff
, Columbia Business School and NBER

A study using detailed data on state sex offender laws and incident-level crime data from the FBI, examined the effect of registration and notification on the total frequency of crime and recidivism and concluded, in part:

“Importantly, we find no evidence that notification laws (as opposed to registration laws) reduced crime by lowering recidivism—the estimated effect is actually weaker when a large number of offenders are on the registry. This finding is potentially consistent with a number of explanations. But, as we show below, the evidence on balance supports the existence of a significant “relative utility” effect, in which convicted sex offenders become more likely to commit crime when their information is made public because the associated psychological, social, or financial costs make crime more attractive.”

 

Sex Offender Registries: Fear without Function?, 2010

Amanda Y. Agan, University of Chicago

A study that utilized three separate datasets and designs to determine whether sex offender registries are effective. First, state level crime data is used to determine if sex offender registries decrease the rate of sexual crimes.  Secondly, a dataset of sex offenders released from prison in 1994 is examined to determine if registry laws reduce the rate of recidivism.  Finally, geographic data was analyzed comparing locations of sex crimes in Washington D.C. with the residences of registered sex offenders in the city to determine if knowing the location of former offenders helps predict the location of sex crimes.  The study found:

“The results from all three datasets do not support the hypothesis that sex offender registries are effective tools for increasing public safety.”

 

Exploring Public Awareness and Attitudes about Sex Offender Management: Findings from a National Public Opinion Poll, 2010

Center for Sex Offender Management, U.S. Department of Justice

A national survey of 1,005 respondents examining public opinion on sex offender issues and comparing the public’s perception with known research.  Among it conclusions:

“Overall, the results indicate that, although community members hold some beliefs that align with current research about sex offenders and various sex
offender management strategies, they also have several misperceptions that can potentially impact their expectations and support for policies that are not likely to result in their intended public safety outcomes.”

 

Collateral Damage: 
Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders, 2009

Jill Levenson, Ph.D.; Lynn University & Richard Tewksbury, Ph.D.; University of Louisville

A study of 584 family members of registered sex offenders to examine the impacts of the registry on family members. Among it’s findings:

“The public disclosure to which sex offenders are exposed is unprecedented, and therefore SORN (Sex Offender Registration Notification) is unique in the degree to which invisible sanctions are inadvertently imposed upon and experienced by loved ones of offenders. As such, SORN creates impacts that are broad, and as illustrated in this study, deep and lasting. Family members, even those who do not live with RSOs, experience harassment, threats, violence, economic hardships, difficulties with housing, and psychological stresses simply because they are related to a sex offender. Whether intended or not, the criminal justice system, via SORN policies, extends punishments to a wide swath of society beyond sex offenders.”

 

Unjust and ineffective:  America has pioneered the harsh punishment of sex offenders. Does it work?, 2009

The Economist

An article examining sex offender policies in the United States.  From the article:

“So laws get harsher and harsher. But that does not necessarily mean they get better. If there are thousands of offenders on a registry, it is harder to keep track of the most dangerous ones. Budgets are tight. Georgia’s sheriffs complain that they have been given no extra money or manpower to help them keep the huge and swelling sex-offenders’ registry up to date or to police its confusing mass of rules. Terry Norris of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association cites a man who was convicted of statutory rape two decades ago for having consensual sex with his high-school sweetheart, to whom he is now married. “It doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make him a threat to anybody,” says Mr Norris. “We spend the same amount of time on that guy as on someone who’s done something heinous.”

 

Sex Crimes on Halloween, 2009

Mark Chafin, University of Oklahoma; Jill Levenson, Lynn University; Elizabeth Letoumeau, Medical Univesity of South Carolina; Paul Stern, Snohomish, WA

National incident-based reporting system (NIBRS) crime report data from 1997 through 2005 were used to examine 67,045 non-familial sex crimes against childer aged 12 and younger.  Incidents of sex crimes committed on or near Halloween were compared to other times of the year.  The study concluded, in part:

“Sexual molesters sometimes use seemingly innocent opportunities to engage children for sexual abuse and therefore might be expected to use trick-or-treat for ulterior purposes.  However, this logic does not appear to translate into an increase in sex offenses around Halloween.  The absence of a Halloween effect remained constant over the nine year period, beginning well before the current interest in Halloween sex offender policies and extending to recent years.”

 

Does a Watched Pot Boil?  A Time-Series Analysis of New York State’s Offender Registration & Notification Law, 2008

Jeffrey C. Sandler, Naomi J. Freeman, and Kelly M. Socia; School of Criminal Justice, State University of New York at Albany

An analysis that looked at sexual re-offense rates of sexual offenders both before and after the enactment of the Sex Offender Registry in New York State.

Quoting from the study’s abstract:

“Despite the fact that the federal and many state governments have enacted registration and community notification laws as a means to better protect communities from sexual offending, limited empirical research has been conducted to examine the impact of such legislation on public safety. Therefore, utilizing time-series analyses, this study examined differences in sexual offense arrest rates before and after the enactment of New York State’s Sex Offender Registration Act. Results provide no support for the effectiveness of registration and community notification laws in reducing sexual offending by: (a) rapists, (b) child molesters, (c) sexual recidivists, or (d) first-time sex offenders. Analyses also showed that over 95% of all sexual offense arrests were committed by first-time sex offenders, casting doubt on the ability of laws that target repeat offenders to meaningfully reduce sexual offending.”

 

Megan’s Law: Assessing the Practical and Monetary Efficacy, 2008

Kristen Zgoba, Ph.D.; Philip Witt, Ph.D.; Melissa Dalessandro, M.S.W.; Bonita Veysey, Ph.D.; Office of Policy & Planning, New Jersey Department of Corrections

A study of sex offender recidivism in New Jersey examining 10 years before and 10 years following the adoption of Megan’s Law.  Among its findings:

“Despite wide community support for these laws, there is little evidence to date, including this study, to support a claim that Megan’s Law is effective in reducing either new first-time sex offenses or sexual re-offenses.”  New Jersey also looked at the growing costs of implementing Megan’s law and concluded, “Costs associated with the initial implementation of Megan’s Law, as well as ongoing expenditures, continue to grow over time.  Start up costs totaled $555,565 in 1994 and now current costs (in 2007) total approximately 3.9 million dollars.  Given the lack of demonstrated effect of Megan’s Law, the researchers are hard-pressed to determine that the escalating costs are justifiable.”

 

No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the US, 2007

Human Rights Watch

A research paper from the internationally recognized organization, which concluded in part:

“Unfortunately, our research reveals that sex offender registration, community notification, and residency restriction laws are ill-considered, poorly crafted, and may cause more harm than good.”

RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS

Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Impede Safety Goals, 2012

Jurist.org, Supported by University of Pittsburg Law School

An article by the noted sex offense researcher Jill Levenson, Ph.D., of Lynn University, stating in part:

“…sexual recidivists do not appear to live closer to schools or parks than non-recidivists, suggesting that residential proximity to such venues is not a contributing factor to re-offending. Furthermore, sex offenders rarely prey on young children in or near parks, libraries or schools and sexually motivated abductions of children are very rare events. Laws restricting where sex offenders live or work will do little to prevent the most common circumstances in which children are sexually abused, through positions of authority and familiarity.”

 

Efficacy of County-Level Sex Offender Residence Restrictions in New York, 2011

Kelly M. Socia, The University at Albany, School of Criminal Justice

A study of the impacts of county-level residency restrictions imposed by several counties in New York State, finding in part that:

“Overall, the present study supports prior research that found residence restrictions were not effective at incapacitating recidivistic sex crimes that were committed against either children or adults. Given that many of these crimes occur among acquaintances and not among geographically proximate strangers (Greenfield, 1997), as well as indications that these policies are passed for political reasons, this finding is not surprising.”

A map study illustrating the impacts of residency restrictions on housing choices (in this example Albany, NY) can be found here.

 

Sex Offender Housing Restrictions, 2011

Kansas Department of Corrections

Twenty Findings of Research on Residential Restrictions for Sex Offenders and the Iowa Experience with Similar Policies, including:

Research shows that there is no correlation between residency restrictions and reducing sex offenses against children or improving the safety of children.”

“The sex offender residency restriction was a very well intentioned effort to keep the children of our communities safe from sex offenders. It has, however, had unintended consequences that effectively decrease community safety.”

 

Sex Offender Residence Restrictions, 2010

Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA)

A position paper by ATSA, the leading treatment organization of sexual offenders comprised of therapists, social workers, parole and probation officers, which concluded in part:

“There is no research to support that adult sex offenders’ proximity to schools or parks leads to recidivism. Researchers from the Minnesota Department of Corrections found that not one of 224 recidivistic adult sex offenses would have been prevented by a residential restriction law. In Florida, researchers found that the distance adult sex offenders lived from schools and daycares was not associated with recidivism; recidivists did not live closer to schools and daycares than non-recidivists (Zandbergen, Hart, & Levenson, 2010). The bottom line is that adult sex offenders do not molest children because they live near schools.”

 

Residential proximity to schools and daycare centers: Influence on sex offense recidivism, 2008

Jill Levenson, Ph.D. Lynn University; Paul Zandbergen, Ph.D., Universtiy of New Mexico,; Timothy Hart, Ph.D., University of Nevada

Of all the sex offenders registered on the Florida Sex Offender Registryin 2004, 165 were rearrested in 2004-2005.  This group formed the sample to study their residential proximity to places where children gather.  Among the studies conclusions:

“Proximity to schools and daycares, with other risk factors being comparable, explains virtually none of the variation in sexual recidivism. Sex offenders who lived within closer proximity to schools and daycare centers did not reoffend more frequently than those who lived farther away. These data do not justify the widespread enactment of residential restrictions for sexual offenders. The time that police and probation officers spend addressing housing issues is likely to divert law enforcement resources away from behaviors that truly threaten our communities in order to attend to a problem that simply does not exist.”

 

Collateral Consequences of Sex Offender Residence Restrictions, 2008

Jill Levenson, Ph.D., LCSW, Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL

A study of 109 persons required to register in Broward County, Florida and the impacts of enacted residency restrictions.  Among its findings:

“Residence restrictions appear to interfere with social support and stability for most registered sex offenders. Many reported transience as a result of housing restrictions, including multiple moves and homelessness.”

“Residence restrictions were especially detrimental for younger offenders. They experienced more transience and homelessness, probably as a result of being unable to live with their families in residential neighborhoods near places where children gather. Similar findings were documented in Indiana (Levenson & Hern, 2007). Because most young adults are still dependent on their parents financially and psychologically, housing laws may be uniquely problematic for this subgroup.”

 

Sex Offender Residency Restrictions: How Mapping Can Inform Policy, 2008

Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice

A policy paper indicating the particular problem that residency restrictions present in urbanized areas, where overlapping safety zones often resulting in entire municipalities being off limits.  From the report:

“If unable to find legal housing, offenders may report false addresses, become homeless or go underground. Others may be forced to live in rural areas with less access to employment or mental health services. Even in rural areas where schools and day care centers are more geographically dispersed, most unrestricted land is forest or farmland.”

 

Residential Proximity & Sex Offense Recidivism in Minnesota, 2007

Minnesota Department of Corrections

This study examined sex offender recidivism and the effect of residency laws. Between 1990 and 2002, 3,166 sex offenders were released from state prisons, of which 224 were returned to prison for a new sex crime through 2006.  The report states:

“Not one of the 224 sex offenses would likely have been deterred by a residency restrictions lawOnly 79 (35 percent) of the cases involved offenders who established direct contact with their victims… A juvenile was the victim in 16 of the 28 cases. But none of the 16 cases involved offenders who established victim contact near a school, park, or other prohibited area.   …even when offenders established direct contact with victims, they were unlikely to do so close to where they lived. This may be due mostly to the fact that offenders are more likely to be recognized within their own neighborhoods. As a result, when direct contact offenders look for a victim, they are more likely to go to an area relatively close to home (i.e. within 20 miles of their residence), but still far enough away (i.e. more than one mile) to decrease the chances of being recognized.”

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