Conventional wisdom says that sex offenders need to be harshly punished for their crimes because of their propensity for recidivism. In fact, Texas sex crimes defense attorneys routinely see people convicted of sexually-based offenses sentenced to long prison terms, civilly committed to state institutions or placed on sex offender registries in an attempt to prevent them from committing another crime.
However, new data shows that sex offenders may not be as likely to re-offend as was previously thought. Only 2.5 percent of released rapists are rearrested for a same or similar offense once they get out of prison. This stands in stark contrast to a 41.2 recidivism rate for released drug offenders, a 33.9 percent rate for larcenists and a 22 percent recidivism rate for persons previously convicted of assault.
Of all of the categories studied, sex offenders were the least likely to re-offend after being released from prison.
Treatment Works, More Intervention May Be Needed
Furthermore, studies show that in-prison sex offender treatment programs can reduce recidivism by 15 percent. After-prison intervention can reduce the recidivism rate by an additional 30 percent.
Some experts suggest that sex offender re-offense rates could be further lowered if, as a supplement to sex offender registration, the state focused its energy on helping released convicts re-integrate into their communities. Just like any other group of ex-convicts, released sex offenders have a propensity to return to crime if they are unable to find stable housing, jobs or educational opportunities.
In Texas, just like in most parts of the country, sexually-based offenses carry severe and sometimes life-long penalties. If you or a loved one has been charged with a Texas sex crime, it’s important to choose an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights.
Source: Huffington Post, “Sex Offenders: Recidivism, Re-Entry Policy and Facts,” 8 November 2011