Thursday, April 24, 2014

Is the April 2014 BJS Recidivism report what we have been waiting for?

4-24-2014 Washington DC:

Yesterday we received notice that the BJS published a new recidivism report: "Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010" and we let folks know about the report, but we have received a few e-mails questioning the report; is it what we have been waiting for?

Before we get into that report lets look back, these are the studies we have known about:
1) "Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983" Published 4-1989
2) "Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994" Published 6-2002.
3) "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994" Published in 11-2003.
Reports 1 and 2 are reports addressing recidivism for all types of crimes, while report 3 is specific to sex offenders and contains extensive information about sex offenders. However, reports 1 and 2 do cover sex offenses but scantily.

The BJS report released yesterday "Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010" is more like historical reports 1 and 2. But, the new report does go further into sex offender information than did reports 1 and 2.

Clearly this does signal a change by the BJS, one major change is, the followup period 3 years to 5 years, but even with that it does not cover sex offenders to the extent that report 3 did. Only time will tell if we are to see another recidivism report extensively covering sex offenders as report 3 did.

Now lets see what the new recidivism report does cover, or omit, some things.

Failure to Register offenses:
pg-22: Rape or sexual assault includes (1) forcible intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) with a female or male, (2) forcible sodomy or penetration with a foreign object (sometimes called “deviate sexual assault”), (3) forcible or violent sexual acts not involving intercourse with an adult or minor, (4) nonforcible sexual acts with a minor (such as statutory rape or incest with a minor), and (5) nonforcible sexual acts with someone unable to give legal or factual consent because of mental or physical defect or intoxication.
pg-23: Other public order offenses are those that violate the peace or order of the community or threaten the public health or safety through unacceptable conduct, interference with governmental authority, or the violation of civil rights or liberties. The category also includes probation or parole violation, escape, obstruction of justice, court offenses, nonviolent sex offenses, commercialized vice, family offenses, liquor law violations, bribery, invasion of privacy, disorderly conduct, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and other miscellaneous or unspecified offenses.
What types of nonviolent sex offenses are they speaking of? And is it possible they are including "Failure to Register (FTR)" types of crimes. FTR is considered a sex offense in one state that we know of, and possibly another. Since the start of FTR's we have wondered how, if at all, they will be accounted for, and if FTRs will mess up recidivism statistics.

Most likely to be arrested for, based on commitment offense:,
pg-8: This general pattern of recidivism was maintained across the 5-year follow-up period. A year after release from prison, the recidivism rate of prisoners sentenced for a property offense (50.3 %) was higher than the rates for drug (42.3%), public order (40.1%), and violent (38.4%) offenders. Among violent offenders, the annual recidivism rates of prisoners sentenced for homicide or sexual assault were lower than those sentenced for assault or robbery across the 5-year period.
pg-8: Table-8 Recidivism of prisoners released in 30 states in 2005, by most serious commitment offense and time from release to first arrest.

Easily missed is, that the Table-8 (Rape/sexual assault) does not tell us "what their first arrest was for," same crime as commitment or another type of crime? Arrest does not necessarily mean a conviction. And the percent shown is of ONLY Rape/sexual assault cases, not total released prisoners.

pg-9: Among all released inmates, an estimated 1.7% were arrested for rape or sexual assault, and 23.0% were arrested for assault. During the 5-year follow-up period, the majority (58.0%) of released prisoners were arrested for a public order offense.

Finally we see something to give us a approximate number, estimated 1.7% of all released inmates (404,638 pg-1 of report) = 6,878 were rearrested, not necessarily convicted. But it was some kind of sex offense. Here is where we begin wondering if the rearrest offenses was for "Failure to register" (Considered a sex offense in at least one state). see earlier FTR discussion.

pg-14: Other measures of recidivism
Conviction—Classifies persons as a recidivist if the court has determined the individual committed a new crime. An estimated 45.2% of inmates had an arrest within 3 years of release that resulted in a conviction in criminal court, and 55.4% of inmates had an arrest within 5 years that resulted in a conviction.
Recidivism of sex offenders is unlikely a goal of this new report. Hence, this writer feels we should expect another more telling report covering sex offenders likened to "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994" Published in 11-2003.

For now have a great day and a better tomorrow.