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Berlin, Fred: 
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 sexual offenders. 
'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 University. 
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 assumption. 

Campbell, Terence W., Sexual Predator Evaluations and Phrenology: Considering Issues of Evidentiary Reliability, Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 18: 111-130 (2000) 
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.; The 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 offenses. 
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 favorable.

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.

Gieles, 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

Highlights 1 

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 finds. 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.

Press release

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.

Hamilton, Melissa; The 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 “SVP laws”).
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 Text     PDF Table 1     PDF Table 2     PDF Table 3    PDF Table 4&5     PDF References

Hanson, R. Karl & Bussière, Monique T. , Predictors of sexual offender recidivism, a meta-analysis, Public Works and Government Services Canada, 1996    
PDF Text     PDF Tables      PDF References
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
PDF Article   PDF Tableaux   PDF Bibliographie  
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.
PDF Text     PDF References     PDF Appendix

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, 2007
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.

Home 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, Aidan; Sex 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'. 

Hopkins, Kyle, 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 year. [...]
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 Kriminologischen Zentralstelle
[...]Die Ergebnisse bestätigen daher nicht die in der Bevölkerung in jüngster Zeit vielfach geäußerten Ängste vor einer extrem hohen Rückfälligkeit gefährlicher Sexualstraftäter. [...] 

Summary in English 

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 [...].

Muller, 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 ASSOCIATED PRESS
Paedophile programmes work - study; Richard Trow; 03 November 2003 STUFF National News [New Zealand]

Naerssen, 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

Background Paper & Foot notes
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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, 2007 
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 
1) Article 
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.

UK 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 
Group 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.


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