Recidivism in Adult Sex Offenders the General Research Proposal

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Recidivism in Adult Sex Offenders

The general definition of recidivism is a re-arrest, a reconviction, or a return to prison. On deciding which definition to pick one a number of factors are considered which include the particular research question, the available data resources, the resources, and the length of the follow-up period. Some studies report only sex re-offenses, whereas others include any re-offenses. Until a few years ago, predictions of recidivism amongst offenders were based on the concept of 'dangerousness' in which case predictions were used to determine the level of danger an individual presented to society. Criticisms rose against 'dangerous' since it lacked precision and it also implied that offenders who were deemed 'dangerous' could not be treated. This meant that instead of predicting recidivism it was risk that was being predicted, giving a suggestion of a more balanced assessment of factors that either increase or decrease the chance that a particular person will re-offend in the future.

Despite the fact that the rate of reporting sexual offences to the police is very low (therefore any studies covering recidivism of sexual offences will obviously give an under-count of offending behavior), research which have been done using both official reports of offending and self-reports of offenders indicate that sex offenders typically have lower rates of recidivism as compared to other kinds of offenders and that there is a variation of these rates for various sub-groups of sex offender.
Firestone et al. (2008) has noted that it is "not clear whether low rates of sexual recidivism point to a lack of opportunity to reoffend, to rehabilitation, or to non-detection of subsequent sex crimes." He suggests that when a lot of evidence is put together then it is possible to reasonably estimate recidivism. A number of studies covered within the international literature that focus on recidivism rates of adult sex offenders and this large body of research has very clear findings: a large percentage of sexual criminals and those who are seriously violent have not been convicted previously convicted of violet or sexual offences and are not reconvicted for violent and sexual offending (Fitzgerald, 2006). The rates of reoffending with the same specific offence as the key offence i.e. violent and sexual reoffending (commonly referred to as homologous reoffending) have been found to be consistently lower than they are for other kinds of criminal behavior. However, since sexual offences are rarely reported to….....

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