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(2 of 2) Legislative History of Sex Offender Residence Restrictions
 

(2 of 2) Legislative History of Sex Offender Residence Restrictions

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    (2 of 2) Legislative History of Sex Offender Residence Restrictions (2 of 2) Legislative History of Sex Offender Residence Restrictions Presentation Transcript

    • Sex offender policies April 2008 1 Premises on which sex offender policies are based: • All sex offenders reoffendAll sex offenders reoffend • All sex offenders equally dangerousAll sex offenders equally dangerous • Sex offenders are more dangerous thanSex offenders are more dangerous than other criminalsother criminals • Sex crime rates are on the riseSex crime rates are on the rise • Treatment doesn’t workTreatment doesn’t work • Stranger DangerStranger Danger
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 2 Levenson, J. S., Brannon, Y., Fortney, T., & Baker, J. (2007). Public perceptions about sex offenders and community protection policies. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 7(1), 1-25. • 193 citizens of driving age193 citizens of driving age • Melbourne, FloridaMelbourne, Florida • late summer 2005late summer 2005 • Melbourne is located inMelbourne is located in Brevard County, on theBrevard County, on the central east coast ofcentral east coast of Florida, about an hourFlorida, about an hour from the Kennedy Spacefrom the Kennedy Space Center.Center. • Females were slightly over-Females were slightly over- represented (57%)represented (57%) • mean age = 37 years old.mean age = 37 years old. • median income = betweenmedian income = between $30,000 and $40,000.$30,000 and $40,000. • EthnicityEthnicity • 69% Caucasian69% Caucasian • 11% African-American11% African-American • 14% Hispanic14% Hispanic • 2.7% Asian2.7% Asian • Average of 14 years ofAverage of 14 years of education.education.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 3 Public Perceptions All sex offendersAll sex offenders reoffendreoffend NN MeanMean SDSD MedianMedian ModeMode What percentage of sex offendersWhat percentage of sex offenders commit another sex offense?commit another sex offense? 191191 74%74% 20.2220.22 8080 8080 What percentage of child molestersWhat percentage of child molesters reoffend?reoffend? 192192 76%76% 20.6420.64 8080 9090 What percentage of rapists reoffend?What percentage of rapists reoffend? 191191 74%74% 21.7021.70 8080 9090 What percentage of sex offenders comeWhat percentage of sex offenders come to the attention of authorities?to the attention of authorities? 193193 46%46% 18.8318.83 5050 30,30, 5050
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 4 Myth: All sex offenders reoffend Fact: recidivism rates are much lower thanFact: recidivism rates are much lower than commonly believedcommonly believed • 5.3% over 3 years (Bureau of Justice Statistics,5.3% over 3 years (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003)2003) • 14% over 4-6 years (Hanson & Bussiere, 1998;14% over 4-6 years (Hanson & Bussiere, 1998; Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2004; Hanson &Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2004; Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005)Morton-Bourgon, 2005)
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 5 SourceSource Recidivism RateRecidivism Rate Definition ofDefinition of recidivismrecidivism Follow-up periodFollow-up period Sample sizeSample size Hanson & Bussierre (1998)Hanson & Bussierre (1998) Charges orCharges or convictionsconvictions 4-5 years4-5 years 29,45029,450 All sex offendersAll sex offenders 14%14% Child molestersChild molesters 13%13% RapistsRapists 20%20% Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2005)Hanson & Morton-Bourgon (2005) Charges orCharges or convictionsconvictions 5-6 years5-6 years 19,26719,267 All sex offendersAll sex offenders 14%14% Harris & Hanson (2004)Harris & Hanson (2004) Charges orCharges or convictionsconvictions 15 years15 years 4,7244,724 All sex offendersAll sex offenders 24%24% Incestuous molestersIncestuous molesters 13%13% Child molesters / girl victimsChild molesters / girl victims 16%16% Child molesters / boy victimsChild molesters / boy victims 35%35% RapistsRapists 24%24% Bureau of Justice Statistics (2003)Bureau of Justice Statistics (2003) arrestsarrests 3 years3 years 9,6919,691 All sex offendersAll sex offenders 5.3%5.3%
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 6 Myth: All sex offenders are the same Facts: (Harris & Hanson, 2004) (2 or more convictions)
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 7 Harris and Hanson (2004) • N = 4,724; 15 year follow up period:N = 4,724; 15 year follow up period: • ““Most sexual offenders do not re-offend sexually overMost sexual offenders do not re-offend sexually over time. This may be the most important finding of this studytime. This may be the most important finding of this study as this finding is contrary to some strongly held beliefs.as this finding is contrary to some strongly held beliefs. After 15 years, 76% of sexual offenders had not beenAfter 15 years, 76% of sexual offenders had not been charged with, or convicted of, another sexual offence. Thecharged with, or convicted of, another sexual offence. The sample was sufficiently large that very strongsample was sufficiently large that very strong contradictory evidence is necessary to substantially changecontradictory evidence is necessary to substantially change these recidivism estimates” (p. 17).these recidivism estimates” (p. 17).
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 8 Some sex offenders are more dangerous than others • pedophiles who molest boys: 35-52%pedophiles who molest boys: 35-52% • rapists of adult women: 19-39%rapists of adult women: 19-39% • Incest offenders: < 10% - 13%Incest offenders: < 10% - 13% • Repeat offenders are more likely to reoffend than first-time offenders.Repeat offenders are more likely to reoffend than first-time offenders. • Those who comply with probation and treatment have lower reoffenseThose who comply with probation and treatment have lower reoffense rates than those who violate the conditions of their release.rates than those who violate the conditions of their release. • Sex offenders who target strangers are more dangerous than those withSex offenders who target strangers are more dangerous than those with victims inside their own family.victims inside their own family.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 9 • Sex offender is a legal term.Sex offender is a legal term. • All sex offenders are not the same.All sex offenders are not the same. • Sex offenders are a heterogeneous group.Sex offenders are a heterogeneous group. • Sexual deviance and dangerousness exist on aSexual deviance and dangerousness exist on a continuum.continuum. 20 year old with 15 year old girlfriend Predatory repeat pedophile with 20 child victims
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 10 Myth or Fact? NN Percent agree orPercent agree or strongly agreestrongly agree Abuse only occurs in low socio-economic classes.Abuse only occurs in low socio-economic classes. 190190 7%7% Sex offense rates are on the rise.Sex offense rates are on the rise. 192192 77%77% Alcohol and drugs play a moderate or major role inAlcohol and drugs play a moderate or major role in sex offending.sex offending. 192192 65%65% Sex offenders reoffend at much higher rates comparedSex offenders reoffend at much higher rates compared to other criminals.to other criminals. 193193 68%68%
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 11 Fact: Sex crime rates have declined. • Sex crime rates, like other serious, non-sexual crimes (e.g., assault,Sex crime rates, like other serious, non-sexual crimes (e.g., assault, robbery), have declined substantially over the past decade, based onrobbery), have declined substantially over the past decade, based on both official crime reports and victim reports (Tonry, 2004).both official crime reports and victim reports (Tonry, 2004). • Rape arrest rates peeked in 1990 and have decreased steadily sinceRape arrest rates peeked in 1990 and have decreased steadily since 1991.1991. • The 2001 rate for forcible rape was 9.6 per 100,000, the lowest rateThe 2001 rate for forcible rape was 9.6 per 100,000, the lowest rate recorded since national record-keeping practices were implementedrecorded since national record-keeping practices were implemented (Maguire & Pastore, 2003).(Maguire & Pastore, 2003). • It might be argued that the drop in crime rates is a direct result ofIt might be argued that the drop in crime rates is a direct result of increasingly aggressive crime policies, but sociological andincreasingly aggressive crime policies, but sociological and criminological scholars assert that such trends are more likely a resultcriminological scholars assert that such trends are more likely a result of society’s changing values and social norms (Tonry, 2004).of society’s changing values and social norms (Tonry, 2004).
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 12
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 13 • Some forms of child maltreatment decreased againSome forms of child maltreatment decreased again from 2004 to 2005, adding to over a decade’sfrom 2004 to 2005, adding to over a decade’s worth of declines, according to data from the USworth of declines, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.Department of Health and Human Services. • Rates of substantiatedRates of substantiated sexualsexual abuse dropped byabuse dropped by 2% in 2005 compared to the previous year,2% in 2005 compared to the previous year, capping a 51% total decline since 1991.capping a 51% total decline since 1991.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 14 Source: BJS National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005Source: BJS National Crime Victimization Survey, 2005 Myth: Sex crime rates are on the rise.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 15 Reasons: • Economic Prosperity in 90sEconomic Prosperity in 90s • More social workers and detectives; improvements in investigationsMore social workers and detectives; improvements in investigations • Longer sentencesLonger sentences • Better community supervisionBetter community supervision • Anti-depressant drugsAnti-depressant drugs • Community protection policies may have contributed to the decline,Community protection policies may have contributed to the decline, butbut • Sex crime rates were on a downward trend prior to the implementationSex crime rates were on a downward trend prior to the implementation of Megan’s Law.of Megan’s Law. ""Megan's Law is riding the coattails of the natural downward trendMegan's Law is riding the coattails of the natural downward trend,"," said Kristen Zgoba, a NJ Corrections Department researcher whosaid Kristen Zgoba, a NJ Corrections Department researcher who is studying the effectiveness of community notification.is studying the effectiveness of community notification.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 16 Fact: Alcohol & Drugs • Past substance abuse had 0 correlation withPast substance abuse had 0 correlation with recidivism (Hanson & Busierre).recidivism (Hanson & Busierre). • Ongoing substance abuse can be a dynamicOngoing substance abuse can be a dynamic risk factor for recidivism, as it impairsrisk factor for recidivism, as it impairs judgment and lows inhibitions.judgment and lows inhibitions.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 17 Are sex offenders the most dangerous type of criminal? • The U.S. Department of Justice (Bureau of JusticeThe U.S. Department of Justice (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002).Statistics, 2002). • burglary (74%)burglary (74%) • larceny (75%)larceny (75%) • auto theft (70%)auto theft (70%) • DUI (51%)DUI (51%) • Sex offenders 5.3%Sex offenders 5.3%
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 18 DUI offenders: 51% recidivism • Proposed legislation:Proposed legislation: Drunk drivers prohibited from living 2500Drunk drivers prohibited from living 2500 feet from establishments that sell alcoholfeet from establishments that sell alcohol
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 19 Myth: Sex offenders are more dangerous than other criminals. Fact:Fact: • Sex offenders haveSex offenders have lower reoffense rateslower reoffense rates than other criminals.than other criminals. • BJS (2002)BJS (2002) • Sample & BraySample & Bray (2003; 2006)(2003; 2006)
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 20 Myth: Sex offenders are more dangerous than other criminals. • Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003:Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003: ““Compared to non-sex offenders releasedCompared to non-sex offenders released from State prisons, released sexfrom State prisons, released sex offenders were 4 times more likely to beoffenders were 4 times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime.”rearrested for a sex crime.”
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 21 Not true that sex offenders are re-arrested at rates four times those of other criminals. 80 20 5.3 1.3 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 SO Non SO SO Non SO % Recidivism NOT TRUE TRUE
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 22 517 3328 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 SO Non SO Within the first 3 years following their release from prison in 1994, 5.3% (517of the 9,691) of released sex offenders were rearrested for a sex crime. Out of 262,420 released non-sex offenders, 1.3% (3,328) were rearrested for a sex crime. 5.3% 1.3% “Compared to non-sex offenders released from State prisons, released sex offenders were 4 times more likely to be rearrested for a sex crime.”
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 23 Myth: Treatment doesn’t work - Public perceptions NN Percent answeringPercent answering “somewhat“somewhat true” ortrue” or “completely“completely true”true” Sex offenders who receive specializedSex offenders who receive specialized psychological treatment will reoffend.psychological treatment will reoffend. 192192 50%50%
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 24 Myth: Treatment Doesn’t Work Facts: Treatment can help • Furby, Weinrott, & BradshawFurby, Weinrott, & Bradshaw (1989).(1989). • Combined analysis of numerousCombined analysis of numerous studies that was unable to detectstudies that was unable to detect a significant treatment effect duea significant treatment effect due to methodology variability.to methodology variability. • Hanson, R. K., Gordon, A., Harris,Hanson, R. K., Gordon, A., Harris, A. J. R., Marques, J. K., Murphy,A. J. R., Marques, J. K., Murphy, W., Quinsey, V. L., & Seto, M. C.W., Quinsey, V. L., & Seto, M. C. (2002).(2002). • 17% untreated17% untreated • 10% treated10% treated -Equivalent to a 40% reduction-Equivalent to a 40% reduction • Losel, F., & Schmucker, M. (2005).Losel, F., & Schmucker, M. (2005). • Recidivism reduced by nearlyRecidivism reduced by nearly 40%40% • SOTEP:SOTEP: • No overall differencesNo overall differences between treated andbetween treated and untreated groups, but:untreated groups, but: • Sex offenders whoSex offenders who successfullysuccessfully completedcompleted the SOTEPthe SOTEP treatment program reoffendedtreatment program reoffended at lower ratesat lower rates than those whothan those who did not demonstrate that theydid not demonstrate that they “got it” (Marques,“got it” (Marques, Miederanders, Day, Nelson, &Miederanders, Day, Nelson, & van Ommeren, 2005).van Ommeren, 2005).
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 25 Can they be cured? • Treatment won’t workTreatment won’t work equally well for everyone,equally well for everyone, and 100% success shouldand 100% success should not be expected.not be expected. • Sex offender treatments,Sex offender treatments, like many other types oflike many other types of medical and mental healthmedical and mental health interventions, don’t focusinterventions, don’t focus on a cure but on aon a cure but on a reduction of symptoms.reduction of symptoms. • Treatment for diabetesTreatment for diabetes doesn’t cure the disease, itdoesn’t cure the disease, it manages the disease.manages the disease. • Treatment for schizophreniaTreatment for schizophrenia doesn’t cure psychosis, itdoesn’t cure psychosis, it reduces symptoms and allowsreduces symptoms and allows people to function morepeople to function more adequately.adequately. • Chemotherapies may notChemotherapies may not ultimately prevent all cancerultimately prevent all cancer fatalities but may increase lifefatalities but may increase life expectancy and quality of lifeexpectancy and quality of life for many patients.for many patients. • Sex offender treatment teachesSex offender treatment teaches clients how to change theirclients how to change their thinking and their behavior,thinking and their behavior, and many are able and willingand many are able and willing to do so and avoid reoffense.to do so and avoid reoffense.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 26 Effect Sizes • Effect sizes measure the magnitude of the ability of an intervention toEffect sizes measure the magnitude of the ability of an intervention to increase or decrease a specified outcome.increase or decrease a specified outcome. • The statistical significance of the effect size indicates whether the benefitThe statistical significance of the effect size indicates whether the benefit of an intervention goes beyond what would be expected by chance.of an intervention goes beyond what would be expected by chance. • Generally, it is accepted that effect sizes less than .20 are small, those inGenerally, it is accepted that effect sizes less than .20 are small, those in the range of .50 are moderate, and those above .80 are considered largethe range of .50 are moderate, and those above .80 are considered large (Cohen, 1988).(Cohen, 1988). • Hanson, R. K., Gordon, A., Harris, A. J. R., Marques, J. K., Murphy, W.,Hanson, R. K., Gordon, A., Harris, A. J. R., Marques, J. K., Murphy, W., Quinsey, V. L., & Seto, M. C. (2002).Quinsey, V. L., & Seto, M. C. (2002). • 17% untreated17% untreated • 10% treated10% treated -Equivalent to a 40% reduction (effect size = .40)-Equivalent to a 40% reduction (effect size = .40)
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 27 Digression: Other effect sizes • Marshall & McGuire (2003) observe:Marshall & McGuire (2003) observe: • Bypass surgery for artery blockage = .15Bypass surgery for artery blockage = .15 • Chemotherapy for breast cancer = .08Chemotherapy for breast cancer = .08 • Aspirin for heart problems = .03Aspirin for heart problems = .03
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 28 Digression: other effect sizes • Meyer, Finn, Eyde, Kay, Moreland, Dies, Eisman, Kubiszyn,Meyer, Finn, Eyde, Kay, Moreland, Dies, Eisman, Kubiszyn, & Reed (2001)& Reed (2001) • Relapse prevention on improvement in substance abusersRelapse prevention on improvement in substance abusers is cited as .14is cited as .14 • Anti-inflammatory drugs have only a .14 correlation withAnti-inflammatory drugs have only a .14 correlation with pain reduction.pain reduction. • Nicotine patches demonstrate a correlation of .18 withNicotine patches demonstrate a correlation of .18 with smoking cessationsmoking cessation
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 29 Digression: other effect sizes • Clozapine and its relationship to improvement inClozapine and its relationship to improvement in schizophrenia = .20schizophrenia = .20 • General knowledge is that only two thirds of patientsGeneral knowledge is that only two thirds of patients with Schizophrenia respond to meds.with Schizophrenia respond to meds. • Even Viagra, commonly thought of as a miracle drug,Even Viagra, commonly thought of as a miracle drug, demonstrated only a moderate correlation with improveddemonstrated only a moderate correlation with improved male sexual functioning (r = .38).male sexual functioning (r = .38). • Illustratively, the r squared (.14) indicates that ViagraIllustratively, the r squared (.14) indicates that Viagra accounts for only 14% of the variance in improvement inaccounts for only 14% of the variance in improvement in sexual functioning. Thus, statistical significance does notsexual functioning. Thus, statistical significance does not imply substantive significance.imply substantive significance.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 30 Myth: Stranger Danger What percentage of sex assaults of adults areWhat percentage of sex assaults of adults are committed by strangers?committed by strangers? 191191 49%49% 20.4420.44 5050 5050 What percentage of boys are abused byWhat percentage of boys are abused by someone they know?someone they know? 191191 58%58% 24.5924.59 6060 8080 What percentage of girls are abused byWhat percentage of girls are abused by someone they know?someone they know? 192192 63%63% 22.3922.39 7070 8080 N Mean SD Median Mode
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 31 Myth: Stranger Danger Fact: 7% of child sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by strangers. • About 40% of sexual assaultsAbout 40% of sexual assaults take place in the victim’s owntake place in the victim’s own home, and 20% take place in thehome, and 20% take place in the home of a friend, neighbor orhome of a friend, neighbor or relative (BJS, 1997).relative (BJS, 1997). • About .7% of all murdersAbout .7% of all murders involve sexual assault.involve sexual assault. • The prevalence of sexualThe prevalence of sexual murders declined by about halfmurders declined by about half between the late 1970’s and thebetween the late 1970’s and the mid 1990’s (BJS, 1997).mid 1990’s (BJS, 1997). • About 75% of sexual murderAbout 75% of sexual murder victims are over the age of 18victims are over the age of 18 (BJS, 1997).(BJS, 1997). 93% of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser; 34% family members 59% acquaintances (BJS, 2000). 7% strangers
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 32 Stranger Danger • It is estimated that about 100 stranger abductions ofIt is estimated that about 100 stranger abductions of children occur in the United States each year (Nationalchildren occur in the United States each year (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2005).Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2005). • By comparison, over 500 children under age 15 wereBy comparison, over 500 children under age 15 were killed in 2003 by drunk drivers (National Highway Traffickilled in 2003 by drunk drivers (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2004).Safety Administration, 2004). • Over 1100 children died in 2002 as a result of physicalOver 1100 children died in 2002 as a result of physical abuse or neglect at the hands of their own parents orabuse or neglect at the hands of their own parents or caretakers (Child Welfare League of America, 2003).caretakers (Child Welfare League of America, 2003).
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 33 Beliefs about sentencing Statistics 122 71 38.80 25.00 99 34.761 2 99 113 80 50.96 36.00 99 48.273 0 300 113 80 47.52 36.00 99 40.032 0 240 110 83 41.92 22.00 99 39.638 0 99 How many years do you believe that sex offenders should serve in prison? How many months of treatment should sex offenders receive in prison? How many months of treatment should sex offenders receive after prison? How many years should sex offenders be on probation? Valid Missing N Mean Median Mode Std. Deviation Minimum Maximum
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 34 Table 3: Differences between group responses and published data Survey Question Published Data Offender Mean % t-value Offenders Public Mean % t- value Public What percent of sexual assaults of adults do you believe were committed by strangers? 27%a 32% 2.6** 49% 15.2*** What percentage of sex offenders do you believe come to the attention of the authorities? 36%b 43% 3.27*** 46% 7.84*** What percent of adult sexual offenders do you believe were sexually abused as children? 28%c 54% 10.44*** 67% 25.7*** What percent of convicted sex offenders do you believe will commit another sexual offense? 14%d,e 21% 4.5*** 74% 41.18*** What percent of rapists do you believe re- offend in a sexual manner? 20%d 34% 5.87*** 74% 34.64*** What percent of child molesters do you believe re-offend in a sexual manner? 13%d 27% 6.99*** 76% 42.31*** Note: t-value represents the difference between each group’s mean response and published data. a (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2002) b (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2005); 36% represents report estimates for victims over age 12. c (Hanson & Slater, 1988) d (Hanson & Bussiere, 1998) e (Hanson & Morton-Bourgon, 2005) Fortney, T., Levenson, J. S., Brannon, Y., & Baker, J. N. (2007). Myths and Facts about Sexual Offenders: Implications for Treatment and Public Policy. Sex Offender Treatment, 2(1), 1-17.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 35 • Random acts of sexual violence, especially against children,Random acts of sexual violence, especially against children, generate enormous media coverage.generate enormous media coverage. • Sexual abuse causes great harm to victims, so our society is rightlySexual abuse causes great harm to victims, so our society is rightly concerned about it.concerned about it. • The media reports many inaccurate facts about sex offenders.The media reports many inaccurate facts about sex offenders. • The public is largely misinformed about sex offenders, particularlyThe public is largely misinformed about sex offenders, particularly about recidivism rates and the threat that strangers pose to children.about recidivism rates and the threat that strangers pose to children. • This misinformation leads to fear and urgency to create laws toThis misinformation leads to fear and urgency to create laws to prevent sex crimes.prevent sex crimes. • Lawmakers act to serve their constituency, and policies are oftenLawmakers act to serve their constituency, and policies are often enacted in the absence of empirical evidence.enacted in the absence of empirical evidence.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 36 The role of the media • There is a link between exposure to media reports about sexThere is a link between exposure to media reports about sex crimes and an individual’s awareness of sexual violence andcrimes and an individual’s awareness of sexual violence and support of community protection policies (Proctor et al., 2002;support of community protection policies (Proctor et al., 2002; Sample, 2001; Sample & Kadleck, 2006).Sample, 2001; Sample & Kadleck, 2006). • Sample and Kadleck (2006) found thatSample and Kadleck (2006) found that 36333633 news articles aboutnews articles about sex offenders appeared in three major midwestern newspaperssex offenders appeared in three major midwestern newspapers news between 1991 through 1998.news between 1991 through 1998. • News coverage of sex crimes and sex offenders increased 128%News coverage of sex crimes and sex offenders increased 128% during that time frame.during that time frame. • A Google News search using the keyword “sex offender”A Google News search using the keyword “sex offender” conducted on September 9, 2006 for U.S. news articles that wereconducted on September 9, 2006 for U.S. news articles that were published in the preceding 30 days yieldedpublished in the preceding 30 days yielded 44904490 hits.hits.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 37 • Sample and Kadleck (2006)Sample and Kadleck (2006) • Themes of high recidivism rates were consistently apparent throughoutThemes of high recidivism rates were consistently apparent throughout the articles.the articles. • Portrayals of sex offenders as persistent in their behavior despitePortrayals of sex offenders as persistent in their behavior despite punishment and rehabilitation.punishment and rehabilitation. • Another disturbing trend was an “increase in news accounts ofAnother disturbing trend was an “increase in news accounts of sexually-motivated homicide [which] could well support publicsexually-motivated homicide [which] could well support public perceptions that sex offending is often synonymous with murder” (p.perceptions that sex offending is often synonymous with murder” (p. 20).20). • The media can “affect public perception regarding the prevalence ofThe media can “affect public perception regarding the prevalence of sex crimes by over-reporting single incidents of behavior” (p. 8).sex crimes by over-reporting single incidents of behavior” (p. 8). The role of the media
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 38 The role of the media (Sample & Kadleck, 2008) • Interviewed 25 politicians in Illinois, who agreed that sexInterviewed 25 politicians in Illinois, who agreed that sex offenders were a “growing” problem.offenders were a “growing” problem. • Most politicians described sex offenders as “sick,” commonlyMost politicians described sex offenders as “sick,” commonly characterizing them as compulsive, persistent, and irredeemable,characterizing them as compulsive, persistent, and irredeemable, and none thought that rehabilitation was possible.and none thought that rehabilitation was possible. • When asked how they customarily obtained knowledge regardingWhen asked how they customarily obtained knowledge regarding sex offenders, the politicians cited the media as by far theirsex offenders, the politicians cited the media as by far their primary source.primary source. • Thus, the media appears to play a leading role in shaping opinionThus, the media appears to play a leading role in shaping opinion both among politicians and their constituents. As a result, publicboth among politicians and their constituents. As a result, public policies are proposed which are designed ostensibly to protect thepolicies are proposed which are designed ostensibly to protect the public but which are more likely to promote only an illusion ofpublic but which are more likely to promote only an illusion of safety.safety.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 39 Recommendations for Evidence-based policy: What can we do to combat sexual violence?
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 40 Evidence-based policy • Social policies designed to prevent sexualSocial policies designed to prevent sexual violence will be most effective when theyviolence will be most effective when they are informed by scientific data aboutare informed by scientific data about • recidivismrecidivism • risk assessmentrisk assessment • needs of criminal offendersneeds of criminal offenders • therapeutic interventionstherapeutic interventions • community management strategiescommunity management strategies
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 41 Recommendations for evidence-based policy • Social policies designed to prevent sexual violence will beSocial policies designed to prevent sexual violence will be most effective when they are informed by scientific datamost effective when they are informed by scientific data about sex offense patterns, recidivism, risk, assessment,about sex offense patterns, recidivism, risk, assessment, therapeutic interventions, and community managementtherapeutic interventions, and community management strategies.strategies. • One-size-fits-all policies are not cost-efficient, nor are theyOne-size-fits-all policies are not cost-efficient, nor are they likely to afford utmost protection to the public.likely to afford utmost protection to the public. • Grove and Meehl (1996) warned that failing to apply researchGrove and Meehl (1996) warned that failing to apply research evidence to decision-making may have grave consequencesevidence to decision-making may have grave consequences for individuals and communities.for individuals and communities. • They advocated for the use of empirical methods to informThey advocated for the use of empirical methods to inform the development of social policy and intervention services,the development of social policy and intervention services, and argued that to do otherwise is not only inefficient, butand argued that to do otherwise is not only inefficient, but unethical (Grove & Meehl, 1996).unethical (Grove & Meehl, 1996).
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 42 Risk-based classification systems • Risk assessment allows screening offenders into relativeRisk assessment allows screening offenders into relative risk categories and applying the most restrictive andrisk categories and applying the most restrictive and intensive interventions to the most dangerous.intensive interventions to the most dangerous. • Unintended consequences and obstacles to reintegrationUnintended consequences and obstacles to reintegration can be minimized for lower risk offenders.can be minimized for lower risk offenders. • Broad policies or offense based classification systems areBroad policies or offense based classification systems are likely to be overly inclusive and dilute the public’s abilitylikely to be overly inclusive and dilute the public’s ability to identify dangerous offenders.to identify dangerous offenders.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 43 Risk-based classification systems • Empirically derived and validated risk assessmentEmpirically derived and validated risk assessment instruments (e.g. Static-99)instruments (e.g. Static-99) • Risk Factors associated with recidivismRisk Factors associated with recidivism • Better definitions of predator (similar to criteriaBetter definitions of predator (similar to criteria for civil commitment)for civil commitment) • ParaphiliaParaphilia • Likely to reoffendLikely to reoffend
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 44 Adam Walsh Act • Tier ITier I: Predicate offenses include whatever offenses do not: Predicate offenses include whatever offenses do not support a higher classification, such as misdemeanorsupport a higher classification, such as misdemeanor registration offenses and child pornography possession.registration offenses and child pornography possession. • Tier IITier II: Predicate offenses include most felonious sexual: Predicate offenses include most felonious sexual abuse or sexual exploitation crimes involving victims whoabuse or sexual exploitation crimes involving victims who are minors.are minors. • Tier IIITier III: Predicate offenses generally encompass sexual: Predicate offenses generally encompass sexual assaults involving sexual acts regardless of victim age,assaults involving sexual acts regardless of victim age, sexual contact offenses against children below the age ofsexual contact offenses against children below the age of 13, nonparental kidnapping of minors, and attempts or13, nonparental kidnapping of minors, and attempts or conspiracies to commit such offenses.conspiracies to commit such offenses. • Requires juveniles as young as 14 to register.Requires juveniles as young as 14 to register.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 45 Treatment programs should be a mandatory component or legislation designed to combat sexual violence. • Treated sex offenders reoffend nearly 40% lessTreated sex offenders reoffend nearly 40% less often than those who do not receive treatment.often than those who do not receive treatment. • Collaborative approaches to treatment,Collaborative approaches to treatment, monitoring, and supervision(“containmentmonitoring, and supervision(“containment models”) have been proven effective and cost-models”) have been proven effective and cost- efficient in other states (CO).efficient in other states (CO).
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 46 Collaborative approach to treatment and community supervision • Collaborative risk management approaches evaluateCollaborative risk management approaches evaluate individual offender’s risks and needs, reinforce theirindividual offender’s risks and needs, reinforce their strengths, and facilitate support systems.strengths, and facilitate support systems. • Therapists and probation officers work together to assessTherapists and probation officers work together to assess risk and develop case management plans.risk and develop case management plans. • Treatment and supervision plans are tailored to target theTreatment and supervision plans are tailored to target the offender’s specific offense patterns and risk factors.offender’s specific offense patterns and risk factors. • Polygraph examinationPolygraph examination • History disclosureHistory disclosure • Monitoring / MaintenanceMonitoring / Maintenance
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 47 The definition of a “Sexual Predator” should more clearly distinguish such offenders as discussed below. • The Kansas sexually violent predator act, for example, defines “predatoryThe Kansas sexually violent predator act, for example, defines “predatory acts” are those “directed towards strangers or individuals with whomacts” are those “directed towards strangers or individuals with whom relationships have been established or promoted for the primary purposerelationships have been established or promoted for the primary purpose of victimization”.of victimization”. • In some states, the definition includes criteria involving the use ofIn some states, the definition includes criteria involving the use of violence, weapons, or causing injury during the commission of a sexviolence, weapons, or causing injury during the commission of a sex crime, or those offenders who have had multiple victims.crime, or those offenders who have had multiple victims. • Repeat offenders, and those who have committed abduction of children orRepeat offenders, and those who have committed abduction of children or adults for sexual purposes should be considered should be consideredadults for sexual purposes should be considered should be considered predators.predators. • Such definitions are more consistant with the term “sexually violentSuch definitions are more consistant with the term “sexually violent predator” as defined in civil commitment proceedings, which require apredator” as defined in civil commitment proceedings, which require a convicted sex offender to have a mental abnormally (DSM diagnosis)convicted sex offender to have a mental abnormally (DSM diagnosis) predisposing him to a likelihood of future sexually violent crimes.predisposing him to a likelihood of future sexually violent crimes.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 48 Loitering zones or Child safety zones • Prohibit sex offenders from hanging out inProhibit sex offenders from hanging out in places where they can cultivateplaces where they can cultivate relationships with children and groomrelationships with children and groom potential victims.potential victims.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 49 GPS monitoring • Can be a useful tracking tool for high risk or predatoryCan be a useful tracking tool for high risk or predatory offendersoffenders • Not necessary or cost effective for all sex offendersNot necessary or cost effective for all sex offenders • May act as a deterrent in some cases but cannot preventMay act as a deterrent in some cases but cannot prevent sex crimes.sex crimes. • Can detect where someone is, but not what he is doingCan detect where someone is, but not what he is doing
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 50 Public education • Parents should be made aware of the signs and symptoms of childParents should be made aware of the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse, and the common types of grooming patterns used bysexual abuse, and the common types of grooming patterns used by perpetrators who gain access to victims via their positions of trust orperpetrators who gain access to victims via their positions of trust or authority.authority. • Factual data about recidivism rates and the heterogeneity of sexFactual data about recidivism rates and the heterogeneity of sex offenders would help reduce the fear that often accompaniesoffenders would help reduce the fear that often accompanies community notification.community notification. • The media play a crucial role in public education, and should beThe media play a crucial role in public education, and should be enlisted as responsible partners in the dissemination of accurateenlisted as responsible partners in the dissemination of accurate information.information. • ““It does not help the child maltreatment field or the public andIt does not help the child maltreatment field or the public and policymakers to see child molesters as simply incorrigiblypolicymakers to see child molesters as simply incorrigibly compulsive fiends who cannot be stopped” (Finkelhor, 2003, p.compulsive fiends who cannot be stopped” (Finkelhor, 2003, p. 1227).1227).
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 51 Prevention • Monies spent on sex offender laws that show little effectMonies spent on sex offender laws that show little effect take away from funding for victim services.take away from funding for victim services. • There is a relationship between early maltreatment andThere is a relationship between early maltreatment and future violent behavior.future violent behavior. • Protective services and foster care programs are oftenProtective services and foster care programs are often poorly funded and understaffed.poorly funded and understaffed. • Investing in treatment and social services for today’sInvesting in treatment and social services for today’s abused children is the best strategy for preventing potentialabused children is the best strategy for preventing potential victims of the future.victims of the future.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 52 Research should be prioritized • Funding should be prioritized for policy analyses,Funding should be prioritized for policy analyses, at local, state, and federal levels.at local, state, and federal levels. • Continuous evaluation should be conducted andContinuous evaluation should be conducted and laws that fail to succeed in meeting intended goalslaws that fail to succeed in meeting intended goals should be reviewed and modified.should be reviewed and modified. • Research should include investigation ofResearch should include investigation of effectiveness and unintended consequences.effectiveness and unintended consequences.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 53 Evidence based social policy can lead to safer communities. • Social policies designed to prevent sexualSocial policies designed to prevent sexual violence will be most effective when theyviolence will be most effective when they are informed by scientific data about sexare informed by scientific data about sex offense patterns, recidivism, risk,offense patterns, recidivism, risk, assessment, therapeutic interventions, andassessment, therapeutic interventions, and community management strategies.community management strategies.
    • Sex offender policies April 2008 54 Jill Levenson, Ph.D., LCSW • jsljwm@bellsouth.netjsljwm@bellsouth.net • jlevenson@lynn.edujlevenson@lynn.edu • 561-237-7925561-237-7925