Thursday, June 20, 2019

IN THE NEWS: BJS fuels myths about sex offense recidivism, contradicting its own new data

IN THE NEWS: BJS fuels myths about sex offense recidivism, contradicting its own new data: A new government report reinforces harmful misconceptions about people convicted of sex offenses. Here's our take on how to parse the dat...





Framing aside, the recidivism data presented in the BJS report can offer helpful perspective on the risks posed by people after release. Whether measured as rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison, BJS found that people whose most serious commitment offense was rape or sexual assault were much less likely to reoffend after release than those who served time for other offense types. The BJS report shows that within 9 years after release:

  • Fewer than 67% of those who served time for rape or sexual assault were rearrested for any offense, making rearrest 20% less likely for this group than all other offense categories combined (84%). Only those who served time for homicide had a lower rate of rearrest (60%). 
  • People who served sentences for sex offenses were much less likely to be rearrested for another sex offense (7.7%) than for a property (24%), drug (18.5%), or public order (59%) offense (a category which includes probation and parole violations).
  • Only half of those who served sentences for rape or sexual assault had a new arrest that led to a conviction (for any offense), compared to 69% of everyone released in 2005 (in the 29 states with data).
While the data were more limited on returns to prison,1 the study found that within 5 years after release, people who had served sentences for rape or sexual assault also had a lower return-to-prison rate (40%) compared to the overall rate for all offense types combined (55%). BJS notes that some of these returns to prison were likely for parole or probation violations, but because of data limitations, it is impossible to say how many were for new offenses, much less how many were for rape or sexual assault.

In sum, the BJS data show that people who served time for sex offenses had markedly lower recidivism rates than almost any other group. Yet the data continue to be framed in misleading ways that make it harder to rethink the various harmful and ineffective punishments imposed on people convicted of sex offenses.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

PA high court will again review sex offender registration | | CCRC

PA high court will again review sex offender registration | | CCRC: On August 31, 2018, the trial court issued an 80 page opinion adopting the experts’ evidence and finding that SORNA violates both state and federal Due Process as well as a number of other constitutional provisions. The government appealed to the State Supreme Court.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

'Sex Offenders Are Not Second-Class Citizens,' Says Judge While Nixing Alabama Rules on First Amendment Grounds - Hit & Run : Reason.com

'Sex Offenders Are Not Second-Class Citizens,' Says Judge While Nixing Alabama Rules on First Amendment Grounds - Hit & Run : Reason.com: "Sex offenders are not second-class citizens," writes U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in a recent decision overturning two provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (ASORCNA) on First Amendment grounds. "The Constitution protects their liberty and dignity just as it protects everyone else's."

Those points, which should be obvious, are a sadly necessary corrective to the hysteria that has driven legislators in one state after another to enact indiscriminate, mindlessly restrictive, and covertly punitive laws aimed at sex offenders. ASORCNA, which Watkins calls "the most comprehensive and debilitating sex-offender scheme in the nation," is a prime example.

The lead plaintiff in this case, dubbed John Doe 1, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure in the early 1990s, when he was living in Wisconsin. He received a six-month suspended sentence for each charge and was not required to register as a sex offender, even after moving to Alabama in 1994. But 14 years later, Alabama expanded its registry, forcing Doe to comply with ASORCNA's numerous demands and restrictions under threat of imprisonment. Among other things,

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Federal Lawsuit Against State DOC Alleges Due Process, Civil Rights Violations in Lifetime GPS Monitoring | Madison365

Federal Lawsuit Against State DOC Alleges Due Process, Civil Rights Violations in Lifetime GPS Monitoring | Madison365: A Chicago law firm has filed a federal class action lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Corrections alleging civil rights violations concerning the use of GPS monitoring for sex offenders — many of whom have completed their sentences and are not on any form of probation, parole or supervised release — and seeks an injunction to stop the state’s lifetime GPS monitoring program.