Friday, October 26, 2012

Where are the Results? New Mexico Sentencing Commission Study Fails to Deliver

OPINION: Press Release

Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc., Calls N.M. Sentencing Commission Report a Sham

In September, 2012, after a six-year wait, the New Mexico Sentencing Commission published and distributed a study of sex offender recidivism in New Mexico. (1) At least, RSOL thinks that's what it is about.

“Where are the charts?” asks Lloyd Swartz, president of the N.M. affiliate of RSOL. “Where are the graphs? Where are the percentages? How is anyone supposed to understand what this is saying? Most of it has nothing to do with New Mexico.” Indeed, more than three pages of the four-page report do not. They instead provide information on various other studies around the country and even in Canada. Its only chart does NOT include New Mexico.

“I’ve never seen a recidivism report that didn’t use percentages,” comments Swartz. “You have to wade through all that stuff that has nothing to do with New Mexico, then wade through the paragraphs about the New Mexico study until you get to some numbers, and then you have to do the math to know what you have.”

Paralegal Larry Neely did the math. “Seven out of 126 from the prison cohort were returned to prison for a repeat sexual offense; that’s 5.5%. Of the 79 in the probation cohort, only one out of the 79 total had committed a new sexual offense. That is a fraction over 1%.” (1, pp. 2,3)

“This is outrageous,” Neely continues. “Our sex offender recidivism is low, very much in line with that found in other studies in other states. The Sentencing Commission obscures that fact by deliberately focusing on all these other studies, especially one widely-discredited study that shows higher recidivism for some populations but has nothing to do with our New Mexico study. The data from our study is being downplayed in the report and ignored in the media in favor of the higher numbers which don’t even apply. This is nothing more than political pandering.”

Dr. Jill Levenson, professor at Lynn University and author of many sexual offense related studies and publications, when asked to review the study, also expressed surprise that the newspaper articles dealing with the N.M. Commission’s report didn’t even cite the results of their N.M. recidivism study.

The NMSC, media, and at least one lawmaker have put nearly all their attention, says Swartz, on "one study done by a group from Canada (2) who specifically said that their results should not be used to formulate policy and which has been rejected as poorly controlled by the rest of the research community. (3) But that is what the media and politicians see when they look at the report.” (4)

“Even more egregious,” adds Neely, who has extensive knowledge of sentencing and supervision practices as they apply to sex offenders, “is the veiled suggestion in the Commission’s follow-up statement that some of the subjects from the study may have re-offended elsewhere, making the rate higher. (5) This is nonsense. Convicted sex offenders on parole or probation are virtually never given permission to leave the state. The Commission does not say that any of the study group is ‘missing.’ If one or two have been given permission to move elsewhere, the Commission would have had no difficulty at all tracking them. Everything in that report is designed as a scare tactic and as a springboard to a demand for additional restrictions on registrants and more stringent laws and monitoring.”

Brenda Jones, Executive Director of National RSOL, agrees there should be graphs and percentages, and she set about creating them (see original). “It took me about an hour,” she said. “It would seem like the NMSC could have taken an extra hour and produced something that has some meaning for the average citizen.” (6) ..Source.. by RSOL


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Study reveals when rapists reoffend

FACTOID (Part-1) & TRUTH (Part-2):

First the news article, then explanation why that is false, then what is true:
Legislator wants new look at sex-offender registry 10-5-2012 by Crystal Gutierrez

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Alarming numbers released in a recent study show the longer some sex offenders are out of prison the higher the chance they'll strike again. That has a state representative looking to toughen up the law.

There are hundreds of convicted rapists and child molesters who live in New Mexico and are ordered to register as sex offenders. The type of crime they’re convicted determines if they need to register for 10 years or for life.

It’s a requirement by law to keep better tabs on them so they don't claim more victims.

That's the main focus of a new study released by the New Mexico Sentencing Commission. It compiled information from studies that looked at more than 200 registered sex offenders, some just released from prison and others had been sentenced to probation.
The study showed five years after parole or probation begins about 15 percent reoffend. The study shows after 25 years back on the streets, that number jumps to 60 percent.
The study caught the eye of Democratic Rep. Moe Maestas, D-Albuquerque.

“Oh no, it's very alarming,” Maestas said.

Maestas said it shows New Mexico laws for registered sex offenders need to be tougher and more effective. He said they could start with adding a third tier to the state’s system. He thinks some on the list for 10 years maybe need to be on the list for 25.

“Maybe so, maybe so, and at the same time maybe some life-timers may be on the 25,” Maestas said.

He's considering adding that three-tier system for registering and he wants more requirements for those registered.

“IP addresses from their computer,” Maestas said. “Palm prints, updated photographs.”

However, he's up against a nationwide group called Reform Sex Offenders Laws. That group is completely against sex offender registries saying they're a second sentence and not effective.

RSOL Executive Director Brenda Jones said other studies show forcing molesters and rapists to register can lead to them reoffend because they claim it destabilizes them.

Jones said more restrictions would also be unconstitutional.

“Any kind of restriction after they completed their sentence after probation or parole is unnecessary,” Jones said.

The House bill Maestas is putting together would also require child predators who use the Internet or a phone to go after children to register as sex offenders.


PART-1: The study which the 60% recidivism rate is quoted from is: Lifetime Sex Offender Recidivism: A 25-Year Follow-Up Study by Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume:46 Issue:5 Dated:October 2004 Pages:531 to 552 Author(s): Ron Langevin ; Suzanne Curnoe ; Paul Fedoroff ; Renee Bennett ; Mara Langevin ; Cheryl Peever ; Rick Pettica ; Shameen Sandhu
Date Published: 10/2004

That study has been severely criticized because of the method used to chose participants. "Given that the follow-up period in Langevin?s study was more than 15 years, all of the inactive (non-recidivist) offenders should have been deleted from the RCMP database." In other words, the people chosen for the study WAS NOT a cross section of ALL sex offenders, it was only recidivists.

PART-2: The article also mentions a "New Study" by the Sentencing Commission. That study is best described as a review of all sorts of other sex offender studies which do not pertain to the recidivism rates of New Mexico offenders.

The Commission Report itself mentions it tracked a total of 79 persons on probation, and 126 persons still in prison as of 2004. Offenders in the probation cohort were tracked for probation violations through January 2012 and tracked for prison admissions through May 2012. Of the 79 persons, only 1 (1.3%) was convicted of a new sex offense by 2012.

Offenders in the prison cohort were tracked for prison re-admissions through May 2012. Of the 126 offenders, 7 (5.5%) were re-admitted for a sexual offense, and 3 (2.3%) were admitted for failure to register.

The Commission Report stressed that their single-year cohort should not be generalized to presume recidivism rates for the whole state, and that the study is not "comparable" to the literature review which takes up most of the report.

All the other studies mentioned in the report merely took up space and none were relevant to sex offenders in New Mexico. It is shocking to see what some will go through to get the focus off what is relevant, and here, it misled the media to the erroneous and not relevant 60%.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tracking Registry Compliance Rates

10-13-2012 National:

Registry compliance figures is something missing from studies, so we are going to track comments made by officials as to registry compliance. Hopefully, over time, we can determine "Local" and "State" or even "National" compliance rates.

This by no means is any official rate, lets call it the Media Rate.

Here is a local from Alaska (4.2% Non Compliant):
In May 2011, the marshals and the troopers finished a five-month joint operation called "Operation Verification." It resulted in 1,910 of the registered sex offenders' addresses being verified. In all, 1,651 were in compliance; 137 were in jail for unrelated reasons; 81 offenders were out of compliance, and they were either arrested or had warrants issued for their arrest; and 41 were not located at the time. ..Source.. 10-13-2012