Following incarceration, most convicted sex offenders are released to community supervision. Many states have enacted laws authorizing the maintenance of a central registry of sex offenders. Convicted sex offenders are required by law to register their residence in those states, and most states maintain a database of the registrations. The states make information about the offender available to the public. Some laws require the state to notify a community that a sex offender is residing in the community. Many states post their sex offender registry on the Internet.
Recidivism Rate of Sex Offenders
Recidivism — or repetition of the crime — by convicted sex offenders is an issue of particular concern. It becomes important to try to predict which specific offenders will commit subsequent sex crimes. There are three basic categories of sex offenders–males who sexually assault adult women, incest perpetrators, and child molesters. The level of violence involved in the sexual assault is an important variable within these groups.
The rate of recidivism varies among the groups. Studies show that male child molesters who assault young boys have a higher recidivism rate than those who assault girls. Similarly, child molesters have a higher recidivism rate than incest perpetrators. The overall recidivism rate is estimated at about 13 percent for convicted sex offenders. According to research, more than half of all sex offenders will not be rearrested for a subsequent sexual offense.
Treatment Programs and Community Supervision
Sex offender treatment programs have shown some reduction in the recidivism rate for sex offenders who complete the program. Studies have shown that those who do not complete treatment are more likely to become repeat offenders. Experts find that sex offenders who are under community supervision, coupled with treatment, are less likely to offend again. Special conditions that may be set for sex offenders’ community supervision include participation in a treatment program, no contact with the victim, no contact with anyone under 18 years of age, no work or activities where the offender will have contact with anyone under 18 years of age, and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol.
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