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Sex offenders emerging from long-term imprisonment 

A Study of Their Long-term Reconviction Rates and 
of Parole Board Members' Judgements of Their Risk

Roger Hood, Stephen Shute, Martina Feilzer and Aidan Wilcox [*]  

Brit, J. Criminol, (2002) 42, 371-394  



The Study in Context  

A Brief Profile of the Sample  

Number and Type of Reconvictions

Reconviction over Time  

Assessment of Risk Related to Reconviction

Using Another Method of Risk Assessment: Static-99

Some Implications  

What More Might be Done to Improve Knowledge of Sexual Reoffending?  




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 category 'Sexual offender' was disaggregated in order to examine reconviction rates of offenders against adults as compared with offenders against children, whether  in an intrafamilial or extrafamilial setting, and to explore evidence of 'specialization '. 
The study also analysed the extent to which members of the Parole Board, in deliberating on the suitability of these prisoners for parole, correctly identified as 'high risks ' those who were subsequently reconvicted of a sexual or serious violent crime. These 'clinical' predictions were compared with those derived from an actuarial prediction instrument for sex offenders, The findings have implications for both sentencing and parole.  

[*] Roger Hood is Professor of criminology and Director of the Centre for Criminological Research, University of Oxford, where Mattina Feilzer and Aidan Wilcox are Research Officers. 

Stephen Shute is Professor of Criminal Justice, School of Law, University of Birmingham, and an associate of the Oxford Centre.

This study was partly funded by a grant from the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate and to Mollie Weatheritt of the Parole Board for England and Wales both for their support and for their helpful comments  on an earlier draft.

Steven Shute thanks the University of Birmingham for the sabbatical leave which made it possible for him to work on this project in Oxford.


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