Despite the fact that society believes sex offenders have a high recidivism rate, the facts prove to the contrary. In fact, sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates of all offenders.
New research suggests that the majority of sex offenders are less likely to re-offend than most other criminals. "According to new research from California, ‘[j]ust 3.2 percent of more than 4000 sex offenders released on parole in 2002 were re-imprisoned for another sex offence in the subsequent 5 years.’ The figures in California are consistent with a 2007 comprehensive study from Minnesota, which found, between 1990 and 2002, a similar 3.2 percent recidivism rate among sex offenders three years after their release from prison (See, e.g., Sex Offenders Unlikely to Commit Second Crime, New Scientist, July 6, 2008).
NOTEWORTHY FINDINGS: The total of sexual recidivists is lower than some might have believed. Most re-offenses and parole violations occur in the initial period of reentry after release. Sex offenders are more likely to commit some other type of offense than to commit a new sex offense.
Research on a sample of 917 sex offenders on probation across the U.S. in 17 states from 1986 to 1989 indicates that while under probation supervision, 11.7% were arrested for a non-sex offense during a three year follow-up period, and 4.5% were arrested for a new sex crime within three years (Meloy, 2005). Another study involving sex offender probationers revealed that after five years, 5.6% were arrested for a new sex offense (Krutschnitt, Uggen and Shelton, 2000).