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Watch Systems, LLC claims "50% of Sex offenders re-offend," Obviously that is correct, right?

UPDATE: Click for explanation of portion in red below.

11-16-2009 National:

Watch Systems, LLC, markets a program (Offender Watch)which tracks registered offenders. In their marketing of that program, and on client websites, their video claims "50% of sex offenders re-offend." Can that be correct? (see End Note 'How to view video')

I wonder, for the past few years National Center for Missing Children and Parents for Megan's Laws have claimed there are about 600,000 registered sex offenders in the nation. That number has not changed for a few years, NCMEC and PML validated by telephone interviews with each state.

Bombshell, if 50% of registrants of sex offender registries are re-offending, then the total number of registered offenders should be growning by leaps and bounds. 600,000 plus half-again is 900,000, then 900,000 plus half-again is 1,350,000 plus half-again to 2,025,000 and that only if half-again recidivate ONCE in a year. However, thats not happening, reality is the number of registered offenders is relatively constant and verified by NCMEC and PML, who will question them?

Growth of registries -at very least- casts a major-doubt on the Watch System's claim of 50% of sex offender re-offend. Also, could we claim, the police are totally inept and that they fail to catch a single criminal committing a sex offense. Maybe the police are spending all their time verifying addresses and have no time to catch new criminals? According to Watch Systems that number should be half a billion or more in the past 15 to 20 years.

Watch Systems' claim is clearly wrong, but that claim does sell their program; isn't there a law against false or misleading advertising? I'll leave that up to the lawyers.

SOHopeful NY checked into this issue a while back, they sent a e-mail to Watch System and they responded saying the authority for that 50% claim was "Sex Offenses and Offenders: An Analysis of Data on Rape and Sexual Assault" and other studies which Watch Systems failed to name.

Today we looked into that study with an eagle-eye, and found, no where in that study does it say that 50% of sex offenders re-offend. Failing to find it that way we then looked for anything around 50%. BINGO we found it, sure enough, there is mention of 51.5% re-arrest rate (likely assumed by Watch Systems to be recidivism rate). see page-26 (lower right hand box Figure-27).

The first problem with that percentage is, who it pertains to, "convicted rapists" not all sex offenders. Convicted rapists are a sub-class of sex offenders, and it would be wrong -in fact- misleading to claim that 51.5% pertains to ALL sex offenders when the study shows rapists.

BUT, it says that 51.5% of the rapists were re-arrested for a new crime, not a new sex crime. Figure 27 then shows (down a few lines) that only 7.7% of the rapists were re-arrested for a new sex crime within 3 years of their release from prison. WOW, thats a far cry from 50% actually committing a new sex crime (Recidivism).

Re-arrested is one of four measures of recidivism used by the Bureau of Justice in their studies. The others are reconviction, re-sentence to prison and return to prison with or without a new sentence. Also note, Figure 27 shows the number are based on offenders released in 1983. (See Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1983 pages 1-2).

The next question is, why would Watch Systems go way back to 1983? Could it be because, no where recently is there a 51.5% number they can cite as authority? I have not seen any newer study which cites a percentage or number anywhere near that.

In fact, that 1983 BJS study was revised in 1994. (See See Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994 pages 1-2).

Finally, the Bureau of Justice in 2003, because of all the controversy about sex offenders, published a new study using the statistics from the 1994 cohort of offenders released from prison. They used ONLY the sex offenders released and their final result was a recidivism rate of 3.5% within 3 years of release; again, a far cry from what Watch System claims. (see Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994).

Also within that study the Bureau of Justice found that, 1.4% of non-sex offenders released from prison committed a sex offense within 3 years of release. Now even more interesting is, 1.4% is smaller than 3.5% BUT when you look at the numbers you find that non-sex offenders committed 6 times the number of sex offenses (3,328) than did sex offenders (517) in the same time frame. Which group is more dangerous to the community? See chart below.

In closing, I cannot find any support for the claim that "50% of sex offenders re-offend" in that study cited by Watch Systems as authority for their claim.


End Note:
Go to Watch Systems website, at the very bottom click on 'Site Map,' then the second box down is 'Visit Community' click on that. From that national map you can chose a state, and any police agency. Here is what you will find: Mass spreading of the "50% recidivism claim" as to former sex offenders as a class, that cannot be supported by any known authority.
Old adage, "You can be part of the problem, or part of the solution," its a choice everyone has to make. I cannot think of a single reason to support "Spreading Erroneous Hysterical Claims" as a way to make the community safer. Its like "Shouting fire in a crowded theater" which is considered dangerous!
SexOffenderIssues blog made the following video showing where the erroneous hysterical claim is fostered, and a few places who have forced Watch Systems to correct that claim:

Bureau of Justice, Sex Offender Recidivism Study:

U.S. Dep't of Justice Recidivism Statistics:
Sex offenders compared to non-sex offenders

Who will commit more new sex offenses within 3-years of being paroled, sex offenders -OR- non-sex offenders?
Non sex offenders commit more new sex offenses when paroled!

Recidivism Rates:
All released sex offenders -vs- non-sex offenders
Source: "Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from Prison in 1994." (NCJ 198281).
Offender Type ParoledReArrested for
New Sex Offense
%/# of New Sex
Offenses by Parolees
Convicted of
New Sex Offense
9,691Sex Offenders5.3% (517)13% (1 every 2 days)3.5% (339)
262,420Non-Sex Offenders1.3% (3,328)87% (3 per day) .83% 2,179)**
272,111All Offenders1.4% (3,845)100%
Construction of chart- DOJ Pg-24 states: Sex offenders compared to non-sex offenders: "The 15 States in this study released a total of 272,111 prisoners in 1994. The 9,691 released sex offenders made up less than 4% of that total. Of the remaining 262,420 non-sex offenders, 3,328 (1.3%) were rearrested for a new sex crime within 3 years." and "Based on official arrest records, 517 of the 9,691 released sex offenders (5.3%) were rearrested for a new sex crime within the first 3 years following their release (table 21)." and DOJ Pg-2 states: "Of the 9,691 released sex offenders, 3.5% (339 of the 9,691) were reconvicted for a sex crime within the 3-year followup period." **Calculated using same proportions between 517 and 339 for sex offenders.

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