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Recidivism among sex offenders in Connecticut

February 2012:

Executive Summary

Although the term “sex offender” is commonly used to describe anyone who has been convicted of sex-crimes, it is important to recognize that individuals who have committed sex offenses do not constitute a single, homogenous population. Together they exhibit a wide range of criminal behaviors that may or may not include violence or contact with other persons. As a consequence, the risk, or likelihood, of committing new sex crimes is not consistent across all sex offender types.

This study tracked 14,398 men for a five-year period following their 2005 release or discharge from a CT prison in 2005. Every subsequent arrest, criminal conviction or reincarceration event was captured and analyzed to produce the 5-year recidivism rates for the group.

In addition to analyzing recidivism among all offenders released or discharged during 2005, the study identified five subgroups from the total cohort who were either convicted for sex offenses or thought to have been involved in criminal sexual crimes but not convicted. The five subgroups were:
-- 1,395 men who had had a prior arrest for a sex-related offense
-- 896 men who had a prior conviction for a sex-related offense
-- 746 men who had served a prison sentence for a sex-related offense before being released in 2005
-- 423 men, a subset of the 746, whose last prison sentence before release was for a sex-related offense, and
-- 1,229 men who were assigned Sex Treatment Scores of 2 or higher by the Department of Correction prior to their 2005 release or discharge.
In 2005, 746 offenders who had served a prison sentence for a least one sex-related offense were released or discharged from prison. Over the next five years:
-- 27 (3.6%) of these men were arrested and charged with a new sex crime.
-- 20 (2.7%) were convicted for new sex offense, and
-- 13 (1.7%) were returned to prison to serve a sentence for a new sex crime.
The sexual recidivism rates for the 746 sex offenders released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The real challenge for public agencies is to determine the level of risk which specific offenders pose the public. ...continued... by State of Connecticut, Office of Policy and Management, Criminal Justice Policy & Planning Division (Source Conn State)

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