Today when sex offenders are released from prison, back into the community, they are required to register with their local police. Legislatures and the general community believe that, new sex offenses are committed by these former offenders. That for the most part is a myth, and now we can present some hard facts to prove our claim.
To make sense of this issue we searched for a "Victim Study" which showed the number of offenses according to victims. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has a report called "Criminal Victimization in the United States, 1994," published in May of 1997. In 1994 victims reported 432,750 incidents.
Although that report has later versions, we used 1994 to be consistent with the latest sex offender recidivism statistics of the same year, "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994, also published by the DOJ in November 2003.
The DOJ reported 3.5% of those released sex offenders were RECONVICTED for another sex crime within 3 years following their release. (DOJ Pg-24)
Accordingly, victims reported 432,750 incidents. 3.5% of sex offenders released committed another sex offense (recidivated within 3-years of release).
The math: (100% - 3.5% = 96.5%) 96.5% of 432,750 = 417,603 committed by someone other than a former sex offender released from prison.
What more needs to be said?
We do recognize that the 3.5% reconviction rate is over 3-years. However, when switching between rearrest, reconviction, recidivates, recidivism etc. all this muddys the waters and requires a careful read of what is being said.
Part of the explanation is, when a person "recidivates" -that act whenever committed-, is rarely taken to court in the same year, reconviction -if any- would more likely be in the next year. Also, most recidivism (actual acts) occurs in the first year or so following release from prison. (DOJ pg-16). We also didn't feel a simple divide by 3 was fair either, so we just erred on the side of caution, and used 3.5% as an yearly figure.
What is their relationshionship, if any, to the victim?
The DOJ, in the above study, found out. Most are related to the victim or within the victim's daily circle of activities. The DOJ reviewed 73,116 cases and found the following, but it is easier to see in our chart (Click on it for a larger chart):
Notice the percentages, at the top of the chart, break down into "All Offenses," "Offenses Against Adults," and "Offenses Against Minors." As to those under 18 (minors) 93.3% of the offenses are committed by family members, friends and acquaintances. Lawmakers need to wake up and stop claiming and enacting "Stranger Danger" legislation! Stop the false hysteria!