It takes guts to sift through the data about the hot-button political issue of sex offender recidivism and look calmly and methodically for the truth about recidivism rates. One of the original creators of the well-known Static-99/Static-99R, R. Karl Hanson of Carleton University, a respected Canadian university in Ottawa, Ontario, and his distinguished co-researchers summed up their conclusions this way:
Once a sex offender not always a sex offender
“Whereas there is a common assumption that most individuals with a criminal record can be eventually reintegrated into the community, the public has different expectations for sexual offenders.”
Hanson and co-authors found the risk of new offenses declines the longer “individuals with a history of sexual offending remain sexual-offense-free in the community.” Their conclusion is based on analysis of all age groups and all initial levels of risk. The study involved 7,000 individuals.
Applying their results to management of recidivism risk, the authors recommend adjustments to initial risk classifications. And, of greatest importance, there should be a determination of a point in time when individuals should be “released from the conditions and restrictions associated with the ‘sexual offender’ label.”
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