We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

California release new recidivism numbers

11-3-2010 California:

New recidivism figures: 2010 Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report ", but they are not easy to decipher!

Normally we would just look at a chart and know what the recidivism numbers are, however, California has revised their record-keeping system and it requires that we understand certain words and phrases, and know how to interpret the charts when viewing them.

The important terms are: Parole Violation (LAW); Parole Violation (TECHNICAL); Registered Sex Offender; Re-Release; and Term, the definitions are all on this page.

Next, the graphic on the right here is very helpful to understanding a few of the terms: Since their new system is based on "Return to Prison" numbers, that means, numbers include "Parole Violations (Technical) and for sex offenders the picture shows 86% for Technical violations. So when our concerns are "new crimes" we need to recognize where the report is overstated with technical violations.

The next item, new in their new system, is, if someone is incarcerated for "Failure to Register" they consider that a "new sex offense." See note 11 on the very bottom of this page. Accordingly, in the picture it shows 5% for new sex crimes (recidivism), that number is overstated by something, unfortunately we have no way of knowing how much.

Throughout the report they speak of "Flagged Sex Offenders" and "Nonflagged Felons" where "Flagged" means the folks required to register as a sex offender. Unless I've missed it, I haven't see a Technical Violation figure for "Nonflagged Felons."

Next to confuse folks is "Re-Release," say someone is convicted of a sex offense and is paroled, then -while on parole- gets convicted of a nonsex offense and is returned to prison. When they are again paroled (Still serving a sentence for the sex crime) they are put into the Re-Release numbers. Looking at the picture we see some sex offenders, when released (8.9%), go on to commit other types of offenses; they will be re-released at some point. A review of Table-10 makes this easier to see. Also note how they break down sex offenses into six types of offenses, and watch the "Other Sex" category because it includes "Failure to Register" crimes, which truthfully are not sex offenses.

The best chart which seems to get around all their confusion is found at the very end of their report, shown below, that only covers registered sex offenders. One final point, the percentages shown below virtually mirror the Department of Justice study done in 1994, and suggest that public sex offender registries have little or no effect on recidivism. Millions of dollars could be saved, excepting that, politicians are afraid to lose their jobs if they admit error.

On a closing note, California claims to be broke, well if 86% of the imprisoned sex offenders are sent back to prison -because of technical parole violations (I'm assuming non sex offenders numbers are similar)-, that has got to cost California a pretty penny. Maybe the real study necessary is about "Technical Violations." Are those folks really violating bad enough to warrant going back to prison, or have they just ticked someone off, or something inbetween? That should be the next study.

For now, have a great day and a better tomorrow.

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