I recommend the post in full, and here is an excerpt:. Reading the briefs, it is impossible not to be struck by their tone. When the government is forced to concede a point in a filing, it is usually done in the smarmiest, most back-handed way possible. There is no trace of that here.
There is, instead, a forceful eloquence and a vision of what effective public safety could look like when it comes to sexual harms. Instead of signing off on the idea of registries being a fundamentally good policy, weaved throughout these briefs is a strain of skepticism as to their utility at all. To state it differently, these are some of the strongest briefs written assailing public registration as public safety. It is much too early to tell what the extended impact of this will be.
Now that an Attorney General, as opposed to a civil rights litigator or even a judge has called a spade a spade, one hopes that others will be willing to follow suit in the quest to earnestly, effectively, and humanely address the spectre of sexual harms in our society. The title of this post is the title of this new article authored by Paul Cassell and James Marsh, which is forthcoming in the February issue of the Federal Sentencing Reporter. Providing restitution to victims of child pornography crimes has proven to be a challenge for courts across the country.
Child pornography is often widely disseminated to countless thousands of criminals who have a prurient interest in such materials. Five years ago, the Supreme Court gave its answer on how to resolve this issue with its ruling in Paroline v. In the ensuing years, lower courts have struggled to implement this holding.
Just recently, Congress stepped in to ensure that victims will receive appropriate restitution. President Trump signed the legislation into law on December 7, In this article, we describe the impact of this important new legislation. Against this backdrop, we then discuss the AVAA, explaining how it will be a useful step forward for victims of these crimes.
One even more important possibility is that the Act could set a precedent for expanding restitution for victims in the future. This USA Today article , headlined "Court rules Jerry Sandusky should be resentenced after turning down his appeal," reports on the result of a high-profile and lengthy intermediate state-court ruling. Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Tuesday but a Pennsylvania appeals court ordered him to be re-sentenced for a count child molestation conviction. The former Penn State assistant football coach was sentenced in to 30 to 60 years, but a Superior Court panel said that included the improper application of mandatory minimums.
In a page opinion , the appeals panel struck down argument after argument that lawyers for Sandusky, 75, had made in seeking a new trial. Lindsay said he was unsure if the new sentencing is likely to result in a substantially different sentence. The U. Supreme Court has indicated that jurors must consider anything that could result in a longer sentence, and such elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A judge, not jury, sentenced Sandusky. This description of the basis of the ruling suggests our old pal, the Sixth Amendment, played a role in the sentencing outcome.
UPDATE : I just came across t his link to the full page opinion in this appeal, and on page one can find these sentences:. Appellant is entitled to application of Alleyne , notwithstanding his failure to raise this claim in the PCRA court. Therefore, we agree with the parties that pursuant to the holdings in Alleyne and Wolfe , the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences was illegal.
Therefore, Appellant is entitled to a remand for re-sentencing without application of any unlawful mandatory minimum sentences. This publication examines the application of mandatory minimum penalties specific to federal sex offenses; it is the sixth and final release in the Commission's series of publications on mandatory minimum penalties. Using fiscal year data, this publication includes analyses of the two types of federal sex offenses carrying mandatory minimum penalties, sexual abuse offenses and child pornography offenses, as well their impact on the Federal Bureau of Prisons population.
In addition to analyzing child pornography offenses generally, this publication analyzes child pornography offenses by offense type, exploring differences in frequency, offender characteristics, and sentencing outcomes for distribution, receipt, and possession offenses. Here is how Senator Cotton concludes with a few details emphasized by me for further commentary :.
So far the debate over First Step has been clouded by euphemism and abstraction, which has prevented the public from understanding what the bill actually does. A concrete example will help clarify the stakes. If the bill passes, he will therefore be eligible for time credits that would reduce his time in prison by up to one-third, or nearly four years.
At the end of his prison sentence he would be moved into pre-release custody or supervised release. He would essentially be a free man. It was punished accordingly by a judge and a jury of his peers. That is how criminal justice ought to work in America. Now a group of politicians and activists are in a position to overturn that public judgment with the First Step Act. Conservatives should resist this revolution. Rather, the FSA creates additional incentives, through "time credits," for offenders to engage in recidivism-reducing programs.
I think the FSA is popular because the "public judgment" is that it would generally be better for Crawford to be released in after having successfully engaged in this programming than to be released in without having made any effort to better himself. But even more irksome to me is how Senator Cotton portrays his poster child, Richard Crawford, because it seems a bit much to say he tried "to force a twelve-year-old girl to have sex with him" given that he was convicted based on law enforcement posing as a man soliciting people to have sex with a fictitious year-old.
This article about the case explains:. Mike and the year-old girl were fictitious and used by law enforcement to catch Crawford in the act. He responded to an undercover federal agent via e-mail and text between Feb. His defense was detailed in a recent court filing, arguing against a lengthy sentence. Crawford testified that he thought 'Mike,' the person he was corresponding with, was engaging in a fantasy and that he agreed to participate," the filing read.
Crawford did not believe there would be a minor present; instead, he thought there would be an adult woman, presumably 'Mike's' wife or girlfriend, and that he and this woman would act the roles in 'Mike's' fantasy. Crawford consistently maintained that he had no intent to have sex with a minor, and if a minor had been present, he would not have had sex with the minor. A jury rejected Crawford's claims of innocence and convicted him of "attempted enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Indeed, I think it fair to call Crawford's crime "victimless," though the case really serves as a great indication of how hard it is to place accurate short-hand labels on various crimes and how easy it is for Senator Cotton to make a crime sound worse than it was is using short-hand labels.
To allow Crawford, who is 60 years old and appears to have no criminal history, the chance to earn "time credits" by completing evidence-based programming to reduce his risk of recidivism seem to me sensible, not scary. And, as I understand matters, if a risk assessment procedure were to classify Crawford as "high-risk" he would not in fact get any sentence reductions. But if Richard Crawford is the worst version of Willie Horton that he can conjure up for the coming debate, I am not at all convinced there is any need to carve out still further exceptions to the prison reform provisions that seem well-conceived to try to reduce the recidivism risk of as many federal prisoners as possible.
A panel f the Sixth Circuit handed down an interest opinion today in Doe v. DeWine, No. Here is how it gets started and some key passages:. US , No. Now, a little more than 55 months after the Supreme Court ruled in Paroline , Congress managed to get a Paroline fix done in a bipartisan fashion. Specifically, Congress used its lame duck session to finalize a long-discussed Paroline fix in the form of an amendment to federal restitution statutes called the " Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of This bill recognizes the unique kind of harm caused by child pornography and requires restitution in a manner that will support victims.
This is a momentous day and many years in the making. I am proud of this legislation and look forward to seeing it change the world for good. The bill also allows victims access to the images depicting them, which can be important for victim identification, expert testimony, forensic review, and treatment. The bill passed in the Senate by unanimous consent in January.
In November, the Senate passed the amended bill by unanimous consent, and The bill is named after victims depicted in some of the most widely circulated child pornography series in the world. Because few have been reporting consistently on the impact of the Paroline ruling in federal cases, I am especially glad this legislation give the Justice Department a responsibility to report on this new legislation's effectiveness.
Debates about federal sentencing and judicial discretion have long included district judges lamenting having to impose unduly severe sentences under federal statutory mandatory minimums or under the federal sentencing guidelines before Booker made them advisory. But this stunning story out of Washington , headlined "Man who raped dying Everett teen gets less than 3 years," reports on a state sentencing judge lamenting having to impose what seems like an unduly lenient sentence under state sentencing guidelines.
Alyssa Noceda was still growing up when she died. The young man who watched her overdose, Brian Varela, will serve less than three years in prison for giving her drugs, raping her and joking about her lifeless body over texts with friends. She has seen auto theft cases with more serious penalties. Noceda had just turned Varela, 20, told detectives Noceda came to a party in February at a mobile home near Martha Lake.
He told police the pills were Percocet. Varela did not call for help. Varela played an online game until he fell asleep, according to charging papers. She was cold to the touch. He went to work at Dairy Queen. Once he returned, he stuffed the body in a plastic crate. He kept her hidden for days. He washed her body to try to destroy evidence. He told friends he planned to bury her near Marysville, then flee to Mexico. One coworker called police Deputy prosecutor Toni Montgomery reached a plea agreement in September.
In a packed courtroom Thursday, friends and family wore matching black hoodies with JusticeAlyssa printed across the back. The front showed Noceda, with angel wings sprouting from her shoulders. She struggled to explain her feelings toward the defendant. She has tried to forgive him, she said. I can fully understand why the mother of the victim here thinks "state laws need to change," but I do not understand why existing Washington law could not have allowed for a more serious sanction in this horrible case.
For starters, the facts as presented here would arguably fit a charge of Rape in the Second Degree under Washington law "victim is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless" , which is a much more serious offense likely to carry a much more serious sanction. For a first offender, it seems, the applicable sentencing guidelines provide for a much lower maximum sentence, but Washington law provides a lengthy list of aggravating circumstances that can allow for a departure above the standard sentencing range.
Any number of possible aggravating circumstances seem readily provable here: e. Over at Reason , J. But readers should click through and here is a piece of the story:. Many have had similar reactions when confronting cases involving authorities running roughshod over people with bad laws, punitive sentences, and ill-considered prosecutions. But this time, the person invoking jury nullification was a federal judge — District Judge Stefan R. Underhill of the District of Connecticut — and he spoke in court about a case over which he presided. The prosecution that shocked Underhill involves Yehudi Manzano, a something man charged with producing and transporting child pornography after saving, and then deleting, a video of his teenage sex partner to and from his own phone and its associated Google cloud account.
But that, prosecutors say in the indictment, was enough for the federal government to proceed with charges under the assumption that Manzano acted "knowing and having reason to know that: such visual depiction would be transported and transmitted using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce.
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That draconian sentence — independent of what was in store in the entirely separate state trial for sex with a minor — was too much for Judge Underhill. Judge Underhill acknowledged that he's not allowed to encourage jury nullification, but "if evidence comes in about the length of the sentence, or if Mr. Pattis chooses to argue, I do not feel I can preclude that. I don't feel I'm required to preclude that. And I think justice requires that I permit that. And in certain trials in our history, juries have done more than that.
They've said the law is wrong, and we, the people, say it's wrong. In response to that, Neeraj N. Patel bluntly told the court on behalf of the U. Attorney's office, "you should take steps to prevent jury nullification and not inform the jury of the sentencing consequences.
Judges don't generally want jurors told they can pull the plug on a prosecution because they don't like the law or the possible sentence. They're generally not permitted to inform juries about nullification, and they're discouraged from informing juries about the consequences in store for convicted defendants. However, that doesn't mean judges must ban all discussion of jury nullification and sentencing from trials. And occasionally you run across one who is horrified by what prosecutors have in mind. That's why Pattis, who passionately believes in the right to nullification, keeps arguing for a principle that generally gets shot down in court.
And last week, he found a judge sympathetic with his arguments. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut declined to comment on this case, but did provide me with a copy of the emergency motion it filed seeking a stay in the trial. Prosecutors want time to get a higher court to prevent Judge Underhill from allowing Manzano's defense counsel to inform jurors of the potential sentence and argue for jury nullification. I have long thought that juries should be informed of the basic sentencing consequences that go with guilty verdict and I am also generally a fan of jury sentencing.
I also think informing juries of sentencing consequences might reasonably be viewed as a requirement of the Sixth Amendment and the Apprendi line of cases. And, speaking of provisions of the Constitution, it seems to me that this case, if there were a conviction, calls for serious consideration of the Eighth Amendment's limits on grossly disproportionate sentences. If the full offense here is just taking and then deleting a video of a teenager having consensual sex, I have a very difficult time seeing how one would not conclude, in the word of Harmelin v. Michigan , that "a threshold comparison of the crime committed and the sentence imposed leads to an inference of gross disproportionality.
Sawyer , No. Jesse Sawyer, having pled guilty to sexual exploitation of children and receipt of child pornography, was originally sentenced primarily to 30 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. On this second appeal, Sawyer continues to protest the reasonableness of his sentence, but we cannot bring ourselves to call it shocking under governing law.
He faced a mandatory minimum of fifteen years. The sentence is barbaric without being all that unusual. On resentencing, the district court declined to give any additional weight to either of the factors we identified. I intend no criticism of the trial judge. She was candid about the reasons for her decision and recommended that the case be referred to another judge if we were to conclude that she erred in rejecting our first ruling.
That was an appropriate course of action, and we can ask no more of a judge who cannot in good conscience follow an appellate ruling. What we cannot do — and where I part company with the majority — is to fail to enforce our original ruling. It is not necessary to agree with an appellate ruling, but under any system of the rule of law it is necessary to follow it. On resentencing in this case, the district court merely changed the subject.
After rejecting our decision, the court found another, previously unavailable reason to impose a reduced sentence. The majority is prepared to accept the new sentence as reasonable in length and, in effect, call it a day. I am not. What all three members of this panel unanimously identified as significant substantive errors in the original sentencing decision remain uncorrected. These errors continue to form the primary basis for the new sentence. I am excited to report that the Supreme Court this afternoon, via this order list , added an interesting sentencing case to its docket by granting cert in United States v.
Haymond , , a case from the Tenth Circuit in which the defendant prevailed on the claim that the procedures used to sentence him following his supervised release violation was unconstitutional. The Tenth Circuit opinion below in Haymond is available at this link , and the federal government's cert petition posed this "Question Presented":.
Seeking unsuccessfully to avoid a cert grant, the defendant's brief in opposition to cert framed the issue of the case this way:. The statute required the district court to impose a sentence of not less than five years up to life in prison for commission of the new crime, rather than the zero to two-year statutory range ordinarily applicable for revocation in Class C felony cases. Given that there are now only two members of the Supreme Court who are generally hostile to Apprendi rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendment Justices Alito and Breyer , I do not think it is a given that this grant of cert means that the Justices are eager to reverse the ruling below.
But we really do not know just how far any of the other Justices, and especially the new guys Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, are willing to take the Fifth and Sixth Amendment in the sentencing universe, and so I am disinclined to make any predictions on any votes at this point save for expected Justice Alito to be his usual vote against a criminal defendant. On the second oral argument day of the new Supreme Court Term, criminal law issues are front and center.
Today the eight-justice court will tackle two more cases. United States , in which the justices will consider whether a provision of the federal sex-offender act violates the nondelegation doctrine. Alabama , an Eighth Amendment challenge to the execution of a death-row inmate who has dementia and cannot remember his crime. As the title of this post suggests, I think the Madison capital case is likely to impact only a few persons ever: only a few dozen of murderers are these days subject to real execution dates each year and only a very few of those persons are likely to able to make a credible claim of incompetence to seek to prevent the carrying out of a death sentence.
In subsequent years, defendants charged under SORNA contended that the act and its enforcement scheme violated a panoply of constitutional rules How the Supreme Court chooses to decide this case could have potentially sweeping implications on several scores. As reported in this USA Today article , headlined "Bill Cosby sentenced to three to 10 years in state prison, remanded to custody immediately," a high-profile sentencing ended in a high-profile defendant going directly to prison.
Here are some of the details:. A handcuffed Bill Cosby was immediately taken into custody Tuesday after a Montgomery County judge sentenced him to three to 10 years in state prison for the sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. After the sentencing, Cosby removed his jacket, tie and watch before being taken away in handcuffs, an officer holding his arm.
He did not respond to a reporter's request for comment. Cosby publicist Andrew Wyatt issued a fiery retort outside the courthouse, saying Cosby was denied a fair trial and calling the proceeding "the most racist and sexist trial in the history of the United States. Before announcing Cosby's prison term, O'Neill ruled that he would be designated a "sexually violent predator," requiring that he register as a sex offender and undergo counseling for the rest of his life after his release from prison. A defense attorney had asked that Cosby, 81, be spared a prison term, citing his age and frailty At a post-trial news conference, Steele said justice had finally been served, calling the sentence "fair and significant.
Juvenile Sex Offenders: A Consideration of Attachment Deficits in the Etiology of Offending
He said Cosby's fame, fortune and popularity helped him create a deceptive image. Cliff Huxtable of "The Cosby Show". It was a seminal character on TV and so was the family, but it was fiction," Steele said. This lengthy new Washington Post article provides a detailed review of a lenient Alaska sentencing causing a stir. Nor did Williams know the victim in the case, identified only as a year-old Native woman who called police after the assault. What she was familiar with was how the case ended: Schneider pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree felony assault in exchange for the dismissal of his other assault, kidnapping and harassment charges.
He was sentenced Wednesday to two years in prison, the maximum for that charge, with one year suspended. However, Schneider was given credit for a year under house arrest, meaning he would not serve additional time in prison. He will instead be required to continue wearing an ankle monitor and participate in a treatment program. Soon afterward, Williams learned that Alaska voters were slated to decide whether the judge in the case should be retained on the Anchorage Superior Court in the November elections. Many in the group also directed their anger at Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik, the prosecutor in the case, who said he had made the plea deal because Schneider had no prior criminal record and seemed amenable to rehabilitation, according to the Alaska Star.
Under Alaska statute, the definition of sexual contact encompasses only direct physical contact with genitals, buttocks, female breasts or the anus — not semen. In other words, despite the accusation that Schneider ejaculated on the woman, he could be charged only with harassment in the first degree, which is not a sex offense, according to state Deputy Attorney General Rob Henderson.
Given that, Henderson said, the prosecution would have been left to pursue lesser charges that, even if they had resulted in convictions, would not have forced Schneider to enter sex offender treatment. In the wake of the case, Alaska Gov. If successful, the penalty for a first-time offense would carry jail time of two to 12 years and require registering as a sex offender. However, the Alaska legislature does not convene until January, so any fix to the loophole would be months away at the earliest.
However, she wished that the judge had sentenced Schneider to some jail time — or that the case had been taken to trial, even if it meant risking that Schneider would be acquitted of all charges The sentencing of Bill Cosby following his conviction on three state charges in Pennsylvania got started today, but did not reach a conclusion. Here are excerpts:. But the final decision rests with Judge Steven T. Green, had argued that Mr. But the psychologist, Kristen F. Dudley, said she did not believe the disorder had dissipated with age.
She said that, while Mr. Cosby was convicted of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee for whom he emerged as a mentor Cosby would be required to have routine counseling for the rest of his life, and even if not sentenced to prison, he would be required to report monthly to the police. Green, but the judge found otherwise. Cosby had faced a maximum year prison term, 10 years for each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault he was convicted of. In this case, they originated with an encounter in January when, Ms.
Constand said, Mr. Cosby sexually assaulted her after giving her pills that made her drift in and out of consciousness. Cosby to a five- to year term. Steele, told the court Green argued in favor of house arrest, saying Mr. Cosby is a danger to no one and that the court must be careful not to allow public opinion to affect its decision-making. Those guidelines, which account for any previous criminal record Mr.
Cosby has none , the seriousness of his offense, and mitigating and aggravating factors, suggest a range of about 10 months to four years. Sentences in Pennsylvania are given as a range of a minimum and a maximum. Inmates with good behavior may be eligible for parole when they have reached the minimum. Cosby heard me and now all I am asking for is justice as the court sees fit. Though dozens of other women have accused Mr. But in his remarks, Mr. Green emphasized what he called Mr.
A key question for Tuesday will be whether Mr. Cosby is allowed to remain out on bail while he pursues those appeals, a process that could take years. His lawyers will argue that he is not a flight risk, and that he is not likely to commit another crime. The title of this post is the headline of this lengthy New York Times review of the high-profile sentencing set to take place at the start of next week. The article includes some original analysis of Pennsylvania sentencing outcomes, and here are some excepts that should be of interest to sentencing fans:.
When Bill Cosby arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse next week to be sentenced for sexual assault, he will find out whether prison is the final stop on his descent from beloved entertainer to disgraced felon. But the judge making that decision, Steven T. Chief among them: What to do with an year-old sex offender who could become one of the most famous Americans ever to enter a cell?
Cosby drugged and assaulted not just Andrea Constand, but them, too. A large number of these women expect a long prison sentence, one that will put an exclamation mark on the first major conviction of the MeToo era. Cosby drugged and raped her in the early s. Prosecutors have said they will push for the maximum year prison term: 10 years on each of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. But Mr. A New York Times analysis of Pennsylvania court data for the past five years found that offenders convicted of crimes similar to Mr.
Cosby would appeal his conviction, but declined to specify on what grounds Wyatt said Mr. Cosby would ask to remain free on bail, post-sentencing, while he pursues his appeal, a process that could take years. Cosby drugged and raped her in Los Angeles in Testimony concerning prior alleged crimes is only allowed in Pennsylvania, as in other states, if, among other conditions, it demonstrates a signature pattern of abuse. That ended in a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict. Experts say judges are often more lenient about bail in cases where the appeal issues are viewed as strong.
After Mr. Cosby as a flight risk, one of the criteria weighed in such a decision. Legal experts said it was generally uncommon in Pennsylvania for offenders to be allowed to remain free on bail, pending appeal, after a judge had sentenced them to incarceration. Cosby was convicted on these three counts: penetration with lack of consent, penetration of the victim while she was unconscious, and penetration after administering an intoxicant. The New York Times reviewed state sentencing data for cases over the past five years in which the most serious conviction was for at least one of those three counts.
Cosby is far older than all of the others convicted. Their median age was 36, though in a few cases, the offender was in his late 60s. A vast majority of the offenders also received fewer than 10 years, with a median sentence of two to five.
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But there were several cases in which judges gave maximum sentences of 20 years or more to offenders who had been convicted on multiple counts of aggravated indecent assault, or a single count in tandem with other, lesser crimes. In some of those cases, the judge eschewed a common practice of making multiple sentences concurrent and instead ruled that they be served consecutively. Cosby had never before been convicted of a crime, and his team is expected to argue that his three counts should be merged into a single count, a decision that would mean that he would face a prison term of no more than 10 years.
Prosecutors have asked that an unspecified number of women who have accused Mr. On that same day, the Zorro Trust completed a purchase of lands owned by members of the King family, a powerful New Mexico agricultural and political dynasty. The largest private landowners in New Mexico are either outside billionaires or family dynasties.
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A few details stood out about the land. For all the care he took purchasing it through shell companies and lawyers, the little things were often neglected. In , a variance from the state land commissioner allowed Epstein to build a section of raised railroad track, where he wanted to park an antique Santa Fe Railroad caboose in sight of the Creston Petroglyphs , nearly catalogued pictograms left behind by the original inhabitants of the Galisteo Basin years ago.
Besides alleged illicit assaults and sex trafficking to the rich and powerful, he had other interests, like eugenics, cryogenics, and theoretical physics. It seems Epstein, a canny investor, saw value in both the physical and human terrain of New Mexico. He pumped more than a quarter of a million dollars into the Santa Fe Institute SFI , a think tank for theoretical researchers, where he befriended co-founder and quark-theory pioneer Murray Gell-Mann.
Pierre Omidyar is another. Not much, I admitted, and went to find out. When I drove out to the institute to ask about its connections, no one bothered me as I wandered around. SFI is up in the hills above Santa Fe, with beautiful views and a campus that seems like a graduate school building at an expensive university; open spaces and industrial lighting, whiteboards and hardwood furniture.
Gell-Mann could not be reached for comment; he preceded Epstein in death last May, at the age of Driving out of the institute, nestled in the hills above the rest of the city, I stop to take a photo of a welcoming artwork ahead of the parking lot: an old Chevy truck with an erect rocket ship as its unloaded cargo. As Knight and Thornton stated —. The study referenced above by Olver et al. In their Canadian study that examined how treatment outcomes for adult sex offenders released from prison might be moderated by factors such as the offender's age and risk level, the researchers found that older sex offenders had significantly lower sexual and violent recidivism rates than younger sex offenders.
A relatively large body of research exists on the recidivism rates of child molesters. The study of sex offenders released from state prisons in by Langan, Schmitt and Durose included a large sample 4, of child molesters. The researchers reported that 5. Similar to the pattern for rapists in the study, child molesters with more than one prior arrest had an overall recidivism rate nearly double As might be expected, child molesters were more likely than any other type of offender — sexual or nonsexual — to be arrested for a sex a crime against a child following release from prison.
During the three-year postrelease follow-up period, 3. Three other studies mentioned in the prior discussion about the recidivism of rapists also make contributions to the knowledge base about the recidivism patterns of child molesters. As part of their larger study designed to evaluate risk assessment schemes for sexual offenders, Knight and Thornton examined the recidivism rates of child molesters.
Their analysis examined the recidivism of child molesters who had been referred to the Massachusetts Treatment Center for evaluation between and Again, given the high-risk nature of these offenders and the length of time that has passed since these individuals committed their referral offense, findings from the analysis may have limited application to child molesters today. Still, several findings from the analysis are worth noting.
First, Knight and Thornton , p. However, they did find that child molesters recidivated at a slower pace than rapists for both non-sexual victim-involved and victimless crimes.
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Findings from Harris and Hanson's analysis are particularly compelling because they document differential rates of recidivism for different types of child molesters based on follow-up periods of five, 10 and 15 years. For all child molesters in the analysis, the researchers found five-, and year sexual recidivism rates based on new charges or convictions of 13 percent, 18 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Table 2 presents the study's recidivism estimates based on new charges or convictions for five-, and year follow-up periods for molesters of boys, molesters of girls and incest offenders.
Recidivism estimates are based on new convictions and charges. Table 2 shows that molesters of boys had the highest rates of sexual recidivism. Different patterns of reoffending within child molester populations have been found in other studies as well, with molesters of boys having higher recidivism rates than other types of child molesters see, e. It is important to keep in mind that the recidivism rates observed for child molesters, and for incest offenders particularly, are impacted by underreporting even more so than recidivism rates for other types of sex offenders, as research has shown that child victims who knew their perpetrator were the least likely to report their victimization Smith et al.
In a study that examined the recidivism of child molesters and non-sex offenders 15 to 30 years after their release from a Canadian prison, Hanson, Scott and Steffy found that child molesters had lower rates of overall recidivism based on reconviction than non-sex offenders 61 percent compared to Not all child molesters in the study, however, recidivated at the same rate. The highest rate of recidivism among child molesters in the study 77 percent was found for child molesters with previous sexual offenses, those who were never married and those who selected extrafamilial boy victims.
In contrast, the long-term recidivism rate for child molesters categorized as low risk was less than 20 percent. One study that did not find different rates of recidivism for child molesters based on victim gender was Prentky and colleagues' analysis of child molesters who were civilly committed in Massachusetts.
The researchers cautioned, however, that this specific departure in their findings from other research may have been an artifact of the study sample's extensive prior criminal history for sexual offenses. The sample consisted of child molesters who were discharged from civil commitment in Massachusetts between and Again, generalizing certain findings from the analysis to other samples of sex offenders could be problematic because the offenders in the study were very high risk and the study period ended more than 25 years ago.
Nonetheless, the research is still important because of its lengthy follow-up period. Based on the year follow-up period, Prentky and his colleagues found a sexual recidivism rate of 52 percent defined as those charged with a subsequent sexual offense for the child molesters in the study. The overall new crime recidivism rate found after 25 years of follow-up was 75 percent. While the difference between the sexual recidivism rates for child molesters found by Prentky and colleagues using a year follow-up period 52 percent and Harris and Hanson using a year follow-up period 23 percent is striking, the nature and substantive significance of the difference can be interpreted in fundamentally different ways.
One interpretation is that first-time recidivism may occur for some child molesters 20 or more years after criminal justice intervention and that recidivism estimates derived from shorter follow-up periods are likely to underestimate the lifetime risk of child molester reoffending Doren, Analyzing data from Prentky and colleagues and other studies, Doren , p.
While the rate at which child molesters are likely to sexually recidivate over the life course may be subject to further debate, current empirical evidence suggests that molesters of boys have higher short- and long-term recidivism rates than other types of sex offenders.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that both gender-crossover and age-crossover offending are not uncommon and that far more research on the recidivism patterns of crossover offenders is needed Wilcox et al. A limited body of research exists on the recidivism rates of exhibitionists. Marshall, Eccles, and Barbaree reported recidivism data from two studies that examined the effectiveness of specific treatment approaches for exhibitionists.
Both studies were based on samples that were small in size. The researchers found that nine of the 23 The second study examined recidivism for 17 males charged with exhibitionism and treated between and Based on a follow-up period of almost four years, the researchers found that four of the 17 Sugarman and colleagues examined recidivism for exhibitionists with a larger sample exhibitionists and a follow-up period of 17 years. The researchers reported a percent recidivism rate based on a conviction for a contact sexual offense during the follow-up period, and a percent recidivism rate based on a conviction for any type of crime other than exposing.
More recently, Rabinowitz-Greenberg and colleagues examined the recidivism of exhibitionists assessed at the Royal Ottawa Hospital Sexual Behaviors Clinic between and Based on an average follow-up period of 6. Building upon the analysis, Firestone and colleagues examined recidivism for of the exhibitionists in the analysis conducted by Rabinowitz-Greenberg and colleagues, extending the follow-up period to an average of The researchers found that Sexual recidivists who were charged with or convicted of a hands-on sex crime during the Drawing firm conclusions about the extent of sex offender recidivism can be difficult due to a number of factors.
First, although there is universal agreement that the observed recidivism rates of sex offenders are underestimates of actual reoffending, the magnitude of the gap between observed and actual reoffending remains subject to debate. As a result, conclusions about the extent of sex offender recidivism and the propensity of sex offenders to reoffend over the life course inherently involve some uncertainty. Second, measurement variation across studies often produces disparate findings that can be difficult to interpret.
Comparing and corroborating findings can be difficult for the same reason. Third, short follow-up periods and small sample sizes limit the generalization of certain findings. Drawing firm conclusions about the propensity of specific subgroups of sex offenders to reoffend over the life course is particularly difficult, as sample sizes often fall to unrepresentative levels as follow-up periods grow longer. Still, recent research has produced several trustworthy findings concerning the recidivism rates of child molesters, rapists and sex offenders overall.
While a sound foundation of knowledge on the extent of sex offender recidivism has been produced in recent years, significant knowledge gaps and unresolved controversies remain. Variations across studies in the operational definition of recidivism, the length of the follow-up period employed and other measurement factors continue to make it difficult to make cross-study comparisons of observed recidivism rates.
Interpreting disparate findings and their implications for policy and practice also remains a challenge. Research documenting the recidivism patterns of crossover offenders and other specific sex offender subtypes is needed. While the operational definitions and follow-up periods employed in sex offender recidivism research will largely be dictated by the available data, studies that produce more readily comparable findings are greatly needed, as are those that employ follow-up periods longer than five years. Analyses that standardize the time at risk for all offenders in a given study using survival analysis also are needed.
Future research should also attempt to build a stronger evidence base on the differential recidivism patterns of different types of sex offenders. While important information on the recidivism of rapists and child molesters has been produced, far more evidence regarding the recidivism patterns of crossover offenders and other specific sex offender subtypes is needed.
We must develop a way to bridge the gap between the perspective that "few sex offenders reoffend" and the evidence that few victims report their victimization. Finally, far more policy-relevant research is needed on the absolute and relative risks that different types of sex offenders pose. The extant literature on sex offender recidivism has thus far been unable to decisively resolve the readily apparent controversy that exists in the field about the proper interpretation of recidivism data and its meaning for public policy.
On one hand, some researchers interpret the observed recidivism rates of sex offenders as low, and hence argue for revisions to the current sex offender policy framework. Other researchers are more reticent to interpret recidivism data in the same way, pointing out that the true reoffense rates of sex offenders remain largely unknown due to underreporting and other factors.
There is little question that policies and practices aimed at the reduction of sex offender recidivism would be far more effective and cost-beneficial if they better aligned with the empirical evidence, but bridging the gap is plagued by measurement problems and conflicting interpretations of the existing scientific evidence. Individual and community safety would no doubt be served by a redoubling of efforts to break down victim reporting barriers, improve research and build more meaningful collaborations between researchers, policymakers, practitioners and the public.
Others are more reticent to interpret recidivism data in the same way, arguing that the true reoffense rates of sex offenders are high or unknown or that observed recidivism rates can be misleading because the propensity of sex offenders to reoffend is poorly reflected in officially recorded recidivism, particularly when short follow-up periods are involved. Had these offenders actually been at risk in the community for the entire follow-up period, recidivism may have been detected, resulting in a higher observed recidivism rate for the entire group of offenders being studied. See endnote Advances in methods regarding heterogeneity and methodological variability can successfully address these criticisms.
Meta-analyses that are based on prudent exclusionary criteria, incorporate statistical tests of homogeneity and explore how methodological and contextual variations impact treatment effects are uniquely equipped to provide policymakers and practitioners with highly trustworthy and credible evidence. In one study, the criterion for recidivism was not specified. Average follow-up periods ranged from one to 21 years, with a median of 4. Thirty-eight studies reported sexual recidivism 4, treated sex offenders and 3, comparison offenders and 30 studies reported general recidivism 3, treated sex offenders and 2, comparison offenders.
Recidivism was defined as reconviction in eight studies and rearrest in 11 studies. In 20 studies, broad definitions of recidivism were used, including parole violations, readmissions to institutions or community reports. Average follow-up periods ranged from one to 16 years, with a median of 46 months. The unweighted average recidivism rates were 12 percent for the treatment group and 24 percent for the comparison group. The average follow-up period for treated sex offenders was Prentky and colleagues , for example, examined the recidivism rates of rapists and child molesters at various follow-up points; the longest was 25 years after the offenders' release from confinement.
The observed sexual recidivism rate after five years of follow-up was 19 percent for both rapists and child molesters. By comparison, the observed sexual recidivism rates after 25 years of follow-up were 39 percent for rapists and 52 percent for child molesters. These analyses are discussed in greater detail in the "Recidivism Rates: Different Types of Sex Offenders" section in this chapter. A recent Safer Society survey of sex offender treatment programs in the United States and Canada found that females accounted for about 5 percent of the clients treated in U.
Hanson and Morton-Bourgon reported that one of the 84 studies in the meta-analysis focused on female sex offenders. Based on the N-size reported in that study of female offenders, fewer than of the 20, sex offenders in the Hanson and Morton-Bourgon meta-analysis were female. The "rape" category excluded statutory rape or any other nonforcible sexual act with a minor or with someone unable to give legal or factual consent. Sex offenders whose imprisonment offense was a violent sex crime that could not be positively identified as "rape" were placed in the "sexual assault" category.
The three-year recidivism rates reported for the 6, sex offenders categorized as sexual assaulters follow: 5. Recidivism is reported as the failure rate, which is the proportion of individuals who recidivated or failed based on a standardized time at risk for all study subjects. Determining the simple proportion of individuals who reoffended during the follow-up period — the most common method of calculating a recidivism rate — can underestimate the rate of recidivism because some of the nonrecidivists may not have been at risk in the community for the entire follow-up period.
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Had they been, recidivism may have been detected, resulting in a higher observed recidivism rate for the entire group of offenders being studied. By standardizing the at-risk time for all study subjects, survival analysis yields a more accurate estimate of recidivism. For more information on "Sex Offender Typologies," see chapter 3.
The 23 treated offenders participated in the treatment program being studied. The 21 comparison offenders were referred to counseling in their local community. Some researchers, for example, have expressed concern about generalizing recidivism findings derived from lengthy follow-up periods to present-day sex offenders because sex offender management strategies have changed and improved over time see, e. Also, some researchers have questioned the comparability of findings from studies of domestic and foreign sex offenders on the grounds that U.
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