In 2003 the U.S. Dep't of Justice published a study "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994." NCJ198281 Most folks are aware of that study which showed 1) A low recidivism rate for 9,691 sex offenders released from prison, 2) Proof that non sex offenders released from prison commit 6 new sex offenses to every one by released sex offenders. (see HERE) But, neither of these are the focus here. Instead, folks may not be aware of a portion of that study which addressed "Victim / Offender Relationships" (page-36). Who are the offenders' victims? i.e., What relationship were they to each other, if at all? To find the answer the Dep't of Justice did this:
Survey of State inmates:
The 9,691 prisoners in this study were all men sentenced to prison for sex crimes. Characteristics of the victims of these sex crimes were largely unavailable for the study. For information on imprisoned sex offenders and their victims, data were drawn from a survey covering the approximately 73,000 male sex offenders in State prisons nationwide in 1997. (pg-36)
Notice the "Victim / Offender" relationship percentages, and whether the victim was, under 18, over 18, and their relationship to the offender, if any. Now, Lawmakers have never specifically focused law/s to affect "Victim / Offender" relationships, at least that I can remember. Lawmaker minds have been stuck on recidivism, tracking, banishing and further punishment under the guise of civil laws. Do you ever wonder why they ignore characteristics of crimes?
Characteristics of crimes are important to folks who profile offenders, and one would think they would also be highly important to Lawmakers who through law supposedly seek to prevent future crimes. There is more to the crime cycle than punishing offenders; past crime characteristics reveal core relationships which should be addressed for prevention of future crime. But it takes someone to look at the stats and thats where Lawmakers are failing to see the value of DOJ stats. Victim / Offender stats were generated in 1997 for reasons beyond idle curiosity.
It dawned on me that, what the 1997 Dep't of Justice study showed, is still valid today. And with over 73,000 cases reviewed, makes an excellent study and authority to cite. Other studies have also shown, that, over 90% of victims know the offender, because s/he is part of the victim's daily life. This has become an undisputed fact.
So I used the percentages found by the DOJ, and inserted them into the chart below (a chart just like theirs). THEN, instead of using the 73,116 number from the 1997 DOJ study, replaced it with the TOTAL number of registered sex offenders nationally recently reported by NCMEC (#1). It seemed logical that there was a correlation, for estimated figures, based on valid past research of the DOJ. And simply worked the percentages. The results follow:
|The Victim was the Offender's ---||All||Victim/s were |
|Spouse||1.1% (8,221)||3.8% (11,555)||0.0%|
|Ex-Spouse||0.6% (4,484)||2.0% (6,081)||0.0%|
|Parent / Step Parent||0.6% (4,484)||0.4% (1,216)||0.6% (2,259)|
|Own Child||11.5% (85,951)||1.4% (4,257)||15.7%(66,199)|
|Step Child||11.2% (83,709)||0.4% (1,216)||15.8% (66,620)|
|Sibling / Step Sibling||1.3% (9,716)||0.4% (1,216)||1.7% (7,168)|
|Other Relative||9.4% (70,256)||2.1% (6,385)||12.7% (53,549)|
|35.7% (266,821)||10.6% (31,926)||46.5% (196,065)|
|Boy / Girl Friend||5.5% (41,109)||8.2% (24,934)||4.4% (18,552)|
|Ex-Boy / Girl Friend||1.1% (8,221)||2.0% (6,081)||0.8% (3,373)|
|Friend / Ex-Friend||22.7% (169,661)||24.8% (75,412)||22.0% (92,763)|
|Acquaintance||19.4% (144,997)||20.1% (61,120)||19.6% (82,643)|
|48.7% (363,986)||55% (167,547)||46.8% (197,331)|
|**Stranger||15.6% (116,601)||34.4% (104,609)||6.7% (28,255)|
|15.6% (116,601)||34.4% (104,609)||6.7% (28,255)|
|100% (747,408)||100% (304,082)||100% (421,651)|
|Note: The exact relationships between chart elements, used by the DOJ, are maintained above. Also the DOJ indicated certain inconsistencies were caused by, missing ages and victim offender relationships, in the original data; we maintained those differences. **And rounding also caused some inconsistencies, when it did we increased the stranger group; it was never more than 5. (Note: The original of this chart is here where it is easier to read, not so squashed as above.)|
Congress and State Legislatures are spending millions, if not billions by now, on TRACKING former offenders, on the erroneous premise that recidivism (one characteristic of past crimes) is the one that will stop future offenses. Victim / offender relationships, also characteristics of crimes, are more important because they reveal which specific relationships are more prone to criminal acts; Lawmakers ignore this.
Possibly because it would mean getting other professionals (Researchers and the Therapeutic Community) who understand these relationships and can unravel them through more evidence based research; all costly. So Lawmakers take the sounds-good path which has never proved to be effective at reducing future victims. Funding too has been misdirected under the premise that only tracking of former offenders will reduce future victims.
OK, enough of the pot shots, now we have new information, yes estimates because precision is simply not possible (Congress does not want precision [#2]), how else can this be helpful to Advocates?
How else can this be helpful:
First, I am not going to tell folks all the ways, I simply do not know them, there are greater minds out there who if they had this information can find other ways it can help. So, a few examples:
1) Last year Congress passed a law prohibiting CERTAIN sex offenders (those with crimes against minors) from getting a FHA loan. From this chart we NOW know, there are 393,396 registrants affected (summing Family & Friends totals). And, of them, 196,065 have families (most likely to purchase a home) who would be denied a FHA loan if they sought one. Going forward this still may be of help, time will tell.OK, I could go on and on, I still see other ways, but my point today, was to get this information out to other minds, who can find ways it can be useful. I do wish, if folks find useful ways, that they report back so I can update this post, for other folks.
2) Residency laws, usually are based on all RSOs in an area, but if based on just offenders with crimes against children, this could provide numbers to argue with. Yes it would be best if this chart were just for one state, that is coming. [#3] I'm sure there are other arguments which can be drawn from these stats related to residency laws.
3) Stranger Crimes Against Children: We NOW have a much better picture of the truth nationally (6.7%) and remember it is from a quais-DOJ source. This number can now be used against Congressional legislation being applies to all RSOs; factual evidence. Exactly how, well wait for such legislation and Advocates can be creative.
4) Crimes between siblings under 18 (.7% 7,168); Crimes between Boy/Girl Friends and Ex's under 18 (5.2% 21,925) boy/girl friends are more likely to be underage as well.; Here is a biggy, Crimes by "Friends & Acquaintances" w/victims under 18, 46.8% 197,331 (somewhere within that 197,331 are Romeo & Juliet crimes nationally; is it ONE or ALL?). (Juveniles on the registry at this time: 197331 / 747408 = 26.4%)
5) Sadly, 46.5% 196,065 cases w/minor victims, are Family related, and there is movement in a few states to separate the offender from his/her children effectively severing constitutionally protected family rights, and to do so, without any hearing (Oklahoma HB 3049), if the offender is not previously married to the child's parent; bill will affect other familiar relationships as well. see "Authorities Remove Child Sex Abuse Victim From Home Of Registered Offender."
As disturbing as some of the numbers are, it is proof that Lawmakers are failing miserably at reducing future victims, their focus is elsewhere, keeping them in office with sounds-good legislation which does little to nothing to provide REAL public safety. Over the years I've seen Lawmakers close their eyes to doing whats right, instead taking the path of providing the public with a false sense of security. And, to do whats right now, well, thats going to take a brave Politician, but will likely be political suicide.
So my conclusion here is, get the Research and the Therapeutic Community involved, maybe do more research, and redirect funding to focus more on Victim / Offender relationship stats, then watch these stats over time. We know what is being done today is not right, recidivism rates are steadily low, and to make things better there has to be change. I vote for the Victim / Offender stats path.
So there you have it, I'll be looking forward to hearing from folks on other ways this can be useful.
For now, have a great day & a better tomorrow.
#1: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has a National map of sex offender by state: See HERE Current version 11-4-2011 which shows 747,408 registrants nationally; we are assuming this is correct even though it has been recently questioned.
#2: During the 2005-2006 Congressional sessions, held behind closed doors, which ultimately formed the Adam Walsh Act, the U.S. Senate had a provision in their version (S-1086), to require states to provide the public with ACCURATE numbers of registered sex offenders; that was removed from the final version of the Adam Walsh Act. see "Double/Triple/Quadruple Counting of the number Registered Sex Offenders," and "GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE," and "How many sex offenders really live among us? Adjusted counts and population rates in five U.S. states." Alissa R. Ackermana, Jill S. Levenson and Andrew J. Harris (Journal of Crime and Justice April 2012) and related article: "Sex-Offender Registries in Five States Inflate Counts by 43 Percent."