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Juvenile Treatment and Recidivism

Peter Christian & Brian Maass, web-article, May 9, 2010

Statistics about juvenile sex offender treatment

It is widely accepted by experts in the field that juvenile sex offenders are more likely, and open, to rehabilitation than adult sex offenders.

I have been studying sex offender reports and data for several years now, and while I do not concentrate on juvenile sex offenders specifically, I've not come across solid studies showing juveniles are more likely to respond successfully to treatment than are adults. It is precisely that I had not come across such a study in the past that my interest was peaked when I heard about a report.

As with studies about recidivism of the general population of sex offenders, studies of juvenile treatment success rates vary quite substantially. Very few studies explicitly compare success rates of treatment of juveniles to that of the adult population.

But a quick comparison of recidivism studies of treated youth versus recidivism of the general sex offender population (all ages) shows the effect of treatment to have similar results on both groups.

(Granted this is not precisely an apples to apples comparison but it does help us set an order of magnitude approximation of treatment success comparison.)

In "Understanding Juvenile Sex Offenders: Research Findings and
Guidelines for Effective Management and Treatment", 2000 by John A. Hunter, Ph.D., we find the following:

"Program evaluation data suggest that the sexual recidivism rate for juveniles treated in specialized programs(...) ranges from approximately 7%-13% over follow-up periods of two to five years."

Then from a study from Florida, Sex Offender Task Force Report, we have:

"Among these youth, the adult and juvenile recidivism rate for new felony sex offenses was 3.6%. This rate represents all youth released over the last twelve years who have been in the community for at least one year"

Note how close this rate of recidivism is to the rate for the general
population as stated by U.S. Department of Justice 1994 Report, page 30.:

“After their release,

5.1% (221 men) of the child molesters and
5.0% (22 men) of the statutory rapists

were rearrested for a new sex crime (table 22). Not all of the new sex crimes were against children.”

The from the USDOJ Center of Sex Offender Management we find:

“Meta-Analysis Studies In Hanson and Bussiere’s meta-analysis, [*] 61 research studies met the criteria for inclusion, with all utilizing a longitudinal design and a comparison group.
Across all studies, the average sex offense recidivism rate (as evidenced by re-arrest or reconviction) was

18.9 percent for rapists and
12.7 percent for child molesters

over a four to five year period. ”

[* An explanation is written in "About Recidivism; a meta-analysis reviewed"; by Frans E J Gieles PhD" in Ipce's Newsletter # 6, July 1999 - Ipce]

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