Overview of the articles about
Hansen, Chris, What
can be done to stop predators? NBC News Feb. 3, 2006
Chris Hansen spoke to Dr. Fred Berlin, a professor of psychiatry at Johns
Hopkins School of Medicine. Berlin has over 25 years of experience working with
'Some can be easily treated, some can't... and you've got the whole group in
between,' says Fred Berlin, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins
I've worked in this area for many years. And the findings surprised even me
because what they found was, as a group, sex offenders
have a lower rate of recidivism than people who commit other kinds of serious
offenses. And yet the public perception, most of public policy, the way
in which we view this problem today, is based upon exactly the opposite
Campbell, Terence W., Sexual
Predator Evaluations and Phrenology: Considering Issues of Evidentiary
Reliability, Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 18:
This article reviews six assessment procedures used for assessing the recidivism
risk of previously convicted sexual offenders. The review of these procedures
examines whether they comply with generally accepted ethical and practice
standards. With few exceptions, most risk assessment instruments fail to comply
with these standards. Currently used instruments for risk assessment continue to
rely excessively on clinical judgment; and, as a result, they remain at a
preliminary stage of development. Consequently, these instruments amount to
experimental procedures; and, therefore, they cannot support expert testimony in
a legal proceeding.
Endrass, J., Urbaniok F., Hammermeister LC, Benz C., Elbert T., Laubacher A., et al.;
consumption of Internet child pornography and violent and sex offending; in:
BMC Psychiatry, July 14 2009
There is an ongoing debate on whether consumers of child pornography pose a risk for hands-on
sex offenses. Up until now, there have been very few studies which have analyzed the association
between the consumption of child pornography and the subsequent perpetration of hands-on sex
The aim of this study was to examine the recidivism rates for hands-on and hands-off sex
offenses in a sample of child pornography users using a 6 year follow-up design.
Consuming child pornography alone is not a risk factor for committing hands-on sex offenses – at
least not for those subjects who had never committed a hands-on sex offense. The majority of the
investigated consumers had no previous convictions for hands-on sex offenses. For those offenders,
the prognosis for hands-on sex offenses, as well as for recidivism with child pornography, is
Gregory, Lauren, Sex offender recidivism less than other felons'; Times Free Press, September 02, 2007
Those convicted of sex crimes in Tennessee are significantly less likely
to re-offend than other types of felons, according to a recent study that
experts say confirms what they have known for more than a decade.
F.E.J., About Recidivism; a meta-analysis reviewed, (Hanson
& Bussire; in: Ipce Newsletter E6, July 1999.
Greenfeld, Lawrence A., Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994
Patrick A. Langan, Erica L. Schmitt, and Matthew R. Durose, all BJS statisticians, wrote this report. Carolyn Williams and Tom Hester edited and produced it.
U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2003
Re-arrest Less Likely for Sex Offenders; November 16, 2003 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Sex offenders are less likely to be rearrested after their
release from prison than other criminals, a government study
The study found 5.3 percent of sex offenders were arrested for another sex crime
after their release. [...] Still, the numbers appeared to dispute the popular
notion that sex offenders are incorrigible. Even among child molesters, [...]
only 3.3 percent of those released in 1994 were arrested again for a crime
against a child.
Short version with highlights 2
Google top 5 'sex offender recidivism'; 2007-February-9
on a Forum
Here are the top 5 Google results for sex offender recidivism rate. Some claim that sex offenders have a lower than average recidivism rate. Others show multiple studies, the majority of which make the same claim.
In other words, anyone doing a simple Google search should find the tabloid TV claims of high recidivism rates bogus.
Efficacy Of Severe Child Pornography Sentencing - Empirical Validity Or
Political Rhetoric? Temple Law Review ..
[USA's] Congress’s appetite for expanding the scope of child pornography laws and increasing the
length of prison sentences for child pornography offenders endures, despite other officials involved
in federal sentencing questioning the necessity and proportionality of severe sentences.
Emotions run high concerning issues involving the sexual exploitation of children. Moral panic has
led Congress to pursue an ever-expanding federal regime of broadening the scope of child
pornography laws and substantially increasing the length of sentences.
Based on an assessment of the empirical evidence, the Congressional stance is best characterized as
political rhetoric. Overall, empirical research fails to establish a correlation, much less a causative link,
between viewing child pornography and contact offenses against children.
Hamilton, Melissa; Public
Safety, Individual Liberty, and Suspect Science; Future Dangerousness
Assessments And Sex Offender Laws; Temple Law Review, Apr 05 2010
In recent decades, federal, state, and local governments have become increasingly restrictive on the
freedom and privacy of those labeled sexually violent predators (“SVP”s) in hopes of preventing
further sexual violence. The most commonly used tools to manage SVPs are involuntary
commitments for mental treatment, sex offender registration, and residency restrictions (hereinafter
In an effort to streamline the identification of sex offenders who pose a future danger and thus
might be subject to SVP laws, officials place substantive legal emphasis on psychosexual evaluations
by individuals accepted as experts. These experts are generally mental health practitioners who offer
opinion evidence about an individual’s potential for future dangerousness, often using actuarial
(statistical calculation of risk) assessments.
This article critically analyzes whether future dangerousness assessments using actuarial tools are
responsive to legal standards contained in SVP laws and whether courts, when confronted with such
assessments, are adequately engaging in the gatekeeper role to accept only good science considering
the evidentiary benchmarks of Daubert and Frye.
Specifically, this article concludes that because of uncritical reliance upon actuarial assessments of
future dangerousness, legal professionals have largely failed to grasp the significant empirical
limitations of these tests.
Hanson, R. Karl & Bussière, Monique T, Predicting
Relapse: A meta-Analysis of Sexual Offender Recidivism Studies, Department
of the Solicitor General of Canada. In: Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 1998, Vol. 66, No. 2, pp 348-362 PDF
Table 1 PDF
Table 2 PDF
Table 3 PDF
Table 4&5 PDF
Hanson, R. Karl & Bussière, Monique T. , Predictors
of sexual offender recidivism, a meta-analysis, Public Works and
Government Services Canada, 1996
This review provides a quantitative summary of recidivism risk factors for
sexual offenders. Based on 61 different data sets, approximately one third of
the 165 predictor variables were significantly related to recidivism (p <
.05) with correlations of .10 or greater. Sexual offense recidivism was best
predicted by measures of sexual deviance (e.g., deviant sexual preferences,
prior sexual offenses), and, to a lesser extent, general criminological factors
(e.g., age, total prior offenses). The predictors of nonsexual violent
recidivism and general recidivism were similar to those recidivism predictors
found among nonsexual criminals. No single factor was sufficiently related to
recidivism, however, to justify its use in isolation. There remains a need for
research to identify changeable, dynamic risk factors.
Hanson, R. Karl & Bussière, Monique T. , Les
prédicteurs de la récidive chez les délinquants sexuels: une méta-analyse,
Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada, 1996-04
L'analyse ici présentée a permis de tracer un tableau quantitatif des
facteurs de risque de la récidive chez les délinquants sexuels. En se
basant sur 61 ensembles de données, il a été possible d'établir
l'existence d'une relation significative entre le tiers environ des 165
variables et la récidive (p < 0,05), la corrélation étant d'au moins
0,10. Les mesures de la déviance sexuelle (par ex., préférences sexuelles
déviantes, infractions sexuelles antérieures) et, à un moindre degré,
les facteurs criminologiques généraux (par ex., âge, nombre total
d'infractions antérieures) se sont révélés les meilleurs prédicteurs de
la récidive de nature sexuelle. Les prédicteurs de la récidive non
sexuelle et avec violence et de la récidive en général étaient
semblables aux prédicteurs de la récidive relevés chez les criminels
n'ayant pas commis d'infractions d'ordre sexuel. Toutefois, aucun facteur n'était
suffisamment lié à la récidive pour que son usage exclusif soit justifié.
Il faut poursuivre les recherches pour cerner des facteurs de risque
dynamiques, c'est-à-dire susceptibles de changer.
Hanson, Karl R., & Harris, Andrew, Dynamic
Predictors Of Sexual Recidivism, 1998-1,
Corrections Research, Department of the Solicitor General Canada
Carefully monitoring the risk indicators identified in this study should help
officers to provide graduated and responsive interventions well before the point
of no return.
Hanson, R. Karl & Harris, Andrew, Les
prédicteurs dynamiques de la récidive sexuelle, 1998 - 01, Recherche
correctionnelle, Ministère du Solliciteur général du Canada
Une surveillance attentive des indicateurs de risque cernés dans l’étude
ici présentée devrait aider les agents à intervenir de façon progressive
et adaptée bien avant qu’il soit trop tard.
Hartley, Eric, Molesters getting a slap on the wrist?
Lack of jail time in cases sparks sentencing debate; The Capital, Annapolis, Md., April 22,
The two recent county cases, among others, have sparked public debate about how the courts handle child sex abusers.
On one side are those who say courts are too lenient and need to impose long prison sentences to protect the public.
On the other side, some judges and experts say a psychiatric problem can't be cured by
incarceration and the best way to protect children in the long run is to give offenders mental health treatment.
Office Report says: Most child sex attacks committed by relatives, family
friends. 1999 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)
The research found that only one in five men jailed for molesting children was
likely to be caught re-offending, compared with reconviction figures of 50
percent for non-sexual offenders within two years of the original crime.
Hood, Roger; Shute, Stephen; Feilzer, Martina; & Wilcox,
offenders emerging from long-term imprisonment; A Study of Their
Long-term Reconviction Rates and of Parole Board Members' Judgements of
Their Risk; Brit. J. of Crimon., (2002) 42, 371-394
This study challenges a number of preconceptions about the risks posed by sex
offenders who have been sentenced to long determinate terms of imprisonment: 162
prisoners were followed-up for four years and 94 for six years.
[...] the low reconviction rate of serious sexual offenders for another sexual
offence is confirmed. Even after six years it remains below 10 per cent [...]
[...] This study found that only 1.2 per cent had been imprisoned again for a
sexual crime, and less than 5 per cent for a sexual or serious violent crime,
within two years of their release. These facts need to be more widely recognized
and disseminated if there is to be rational debate on this emotive subject.
[...] The evidence from this study suggests that Board members over-estimated,
in particular, the risk of reconviction of sex offenders who had committed their
crimes wholly within their own family unit as well as the risk of reconviction
posed by 'deniers'.
Sexual crime studies shows repeats are low; Supporters of tough new laws say convicts just get
smarter; Anchorage Daily News February 13, 2007
A study of nearly 2,000 Alaska ex-cons challenges the widely held conviction that sex criminals are more likely to strike again than other
lawbreakers when they get out of prison.
The study, by the Alaska Judicial Council, found that sex offenders are among the criminals least likely to get in trouble once they've done
their time and been released.
The study says only 3 percent of sex offenders were convicted of
another sex crime within three years of release from jail.
Hudak, Andy, Low-risk sex offenders should be treated rather than locked up;
Andy Hudak, Daily Interlake, Jan 03, 2007
The actual statistic is a 3.8 percent re-offense rate over three
years! This was also across ALL levels of risk.
[...] Montana's prison and outpatient programs have consistently
demonstrated recidivism rates of less than 1 percent per
Let's support rational laws and interventions that are successful and based on scientific facts --
NOT the part of our brains that think black-and-white, deal with fear through punishment and
repression, and is responsible for much of the prejudice and suffering in the world.
Kriminologischen Zentralstelle, Sexualstraftäter,
Legalbewährung und kriminelle Karrieren, Ein Forschungsprojekt der
[...]Die Ergebnisse bestätigen daher nicht die in der Bevölkerung in jüngster
Zeit vielfach geäußerten Ängste vor einer extrem hohen Rückfälligkeit gefährlicher
Study by Labie, Ian:]
Trow, Richard, Paedophile
programmes work; STUFF
National News [New Zealand], 03 November 2003
Treating paedophiles in the community significantly reduces sexual re-offending,
a study shows. [...] Offenders who completed the programmes had a recidivism
rate of 5 per cent. In two control groups that did not receive treatment, rates
were 21 per cent and 25 per cent [...].
Heather , Child molester unlikely to re-offend, expert says;
eurekareporter.com, 16 October 2007
Park argued that the program itself was fundamentally flawed, focusing too much on details of past offenses in an attempt to prevent relapses.
Preventing relapses should be the goal of sex-offender treatment plans, Park agreed, but said the SOCP approach had been criticized for
instilling a sense of shame in participants.
"Shame," he said, "is looking at yourself as scum." It's a negative emotion that, in Park's opinion, actually increases the risk of re-offense.
Myths & Facts
about Recidivism in: Ipce newsletter E18, February 2005
- Rearrest Less Likely for Sex Offenders; November 16, 2003 By THE
- Paedophile programmes work - study; Richard Trow; 03 November
2003 STUFF National News [New Zealand]
A.X.van, The Sexual Experience of Young People, Staatscourant [NL]
246, Thursday, 19 December 1996.
[... C]onsider recidivism with respect to morals offenses. This varies,
according to the minister, from 20% to 40%. Which implies that 80% to 60% do not
commit repeat offenses.
O'Carroll, Tom, Sexual
Privacy for Paedophiles and Children
Paper delivered to the Symposium on Sexual Privacy at the annual meeting of the
International Academy of Sex Research, Paris, June 2000, with
Sometimes the claim is made that the demonised paedophiles who
commit sexual offences against children are especially demonic in the
persistence with which they offend, but this too is demonstrably a myth. Hanson
and Bussiere, corrections researchers in the Canadian Solicitor General's
office, have brought together and re-analysed the data from every available
study on sexual offender recidivism, from anywhere in the world in the last 50
years, a total of 61 studies, totalling some 23,300 cases. Their meta-analysis
has been published by the American Psychological Association. Most of the data
comes from the last 15 years and the overall figure for sexual offence
recidivism by sexual offenders is found to be 13.4%. This is low in comparison
with offenders in general, and firmly refutes claims that sexual offending is
necessarily some kind of addiction or compulsion. One particularly interesting
finding is that in general sexual offenders against children re-offend less than
violent sexual offenders (e.g. rapists).
Ray, Eric, Prof to Sentencing Commission: Sex Offenders Can Be Treated;
KCPW News, Aug 07, 2008
"When we looked at people going through the system for an extended period of time, the overall recidivism rate for offenders that came back
to the system for new sex offenses was approximately 10%,"
Rivedal, Karen, Sex
crimes that shock most are rare; Madison.com, 608-252-6106, March 4,
Federal statistics show such crimes, especially involving children, are very rare.
Less than 1 percent of all sex crimes involve murder, and the vast majority of sexually abused children - 60 percent to 80 percent - are
molested by family members or close friends and acquaintances. Nearly 90 percent of adult victims know their assailants, according to the U.S.
Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Rogers, Amanda, Recidivism
Studies Expose Fraud. Multiple State’s Sex Offender Recidivism Studies
Expose Fraud Upon The American Public By Lawmakers And Mainstream Media;
Amanda Rogers, The American Chronicle,
September 13, 2007
The notion that most sex offences are committed by strangers, that sex offenders have high rates of recidivism, and that treatment does not work is NOT supported by the extensive and growing body of research regarding registered sex offenders. Here is a glimpse of what these studies reveal, which proves that what is happening is the exact opposite of what the American people are repeatedly being told.
Schultz, Pamela D., Treatment
for sex offenders can protect community; But the problem of readmitting
perpetrators to society will never be solved if we allow misplaced fear and
paranoia to guide us; OPINION, By Pamela D. Schultz; Newsday [Melville, NY],
December 3, 2006.
According to the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, untreated sex
offenders sentenced to prison have a recidivism rate of 18.5 percent, compared
with around 25 percent for drug offenses and 30 percent for violent offenses.
Intense psychological counseling has been shown to lower sex offenders'
recidivism quite effectively. Although treatment cuts recidivism of rapists by a
few percent, treatment can cut the rate of recidivism in child molesters by up
to one half.
Smith, Jennifer, Residency
laws for sex offenders under microscope; Restrictions aim to prevent
repeat crimes, but critics say all laws do is prevent offenders from rebuilding
lives; Newsday [Melville, NY], December 3, 2006
2) Voices in the sex offender debate - Several authors
3) Pending and and current laws on LI
Experts in sex-offender treatment and recidivism say there is little proof such
measures keep communities safer or prevent sex offenders from striking again.
"Most sex offenders do not re-offend,"
said Karl Hanson, a senior research officer with Public Safety Canada who
studied sex offenders for two decades. On average, he said, sex offenders have a 10 percent
to 15 percent recidivism rate five years after their release; that rate rises
to about 20 percent after 10 years.
Reoffending statistics, Daily Telegraph, 23rd March 2001.
Quotes & highlights from:
Wetzstein, Cheryl, The Complex Nature of Child Sexual
Abuse; in: Child Abuse. Ed. Bryan J. Grapes. Contemporary Issues Companion
Series. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2001.
This article, "The Child Molestation Dilemma," by Cheryl
Wetzstein, appeared in the November 1996 issue and is reprinted with permission
from The World & I.
[A] 1994 paper issued by
the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, [reports] recidivism rates
for untreated sex offenders ranged as follows:
41 to 71 percent for exhibitionists;
13 to 40 percent for child molesters preferring boy victims;
10 to 29 percent for child molesters preferring girl victims;
7 to 35 percent for rapists;
4 to 10 percent for incest offenders.
Zessen, Gertjan van, A
Model for Group Counseling with Male Pedophiles,
Journal of Homosexuality Volume 20, 1/2, 1990
treatment programs for pedophiles are often designed for populations of
convicted men in closed institutions with limited application to other
populations. Treatment is usually focused on reducing the ‘deviant” sexual
arousal and/or acquiring hetero-social skills and eventually establishing the
ability to engage in adult heterosexual relationships. A six-week highly
structured program is presented to five men in a non-residential setting. In
addition to individual psychotherapy, group counseling is offered.