By Pete Carey
Many people talk about recidivism in sex offenders and to be completely honest - it drives me crazy. I'll admit it probably has everything to do with me being a sex offender - otherwise I likely wouldn't care.
I think what drives me crazy are the individuals that jump on the bandwagon and repeat hearsay versus fact. It's the neighborhood activists that proclaim neighbors are unsafe with offenders in them. These are people that are simply creating a false hysteria. There's no 'safety' in this thought process. If I ever ask someone to cite sources and open a discussion with me about the topic, I'm met with statements like 'it's common sense' or a hostile attitude.
But seriously, think about it. If I wanted to re-offend (... which I don't) what good is it that my picture is posted on a website? I've asked numerous 'stay at home' parents to describe any sex offender's appearance that lives within 5 miles. None of them have been able to give me just one description.
Not only that, but if I was going to re-offend, is the public ignorant enough to think that I would re-offend at my house or my place of employment? (... because these are the only two places that I'm required to register where I am located.) I'm not required to share when I go to the grocery store, when I go to the park, when I go to a soccer game, etc. It seems to me that hysteria has grossly trumped 'common sense' in this department.
Recidivism isn't good with any crime. People are flawed. Without diving into the religious side of that statement, let's all just agree that individuals all do dumb things... and some of those individuals repeat those dumb things. Those are just the facts.
But, when it comes to comparing risks and percentages of repeating - the facts speak loudly. I just don't think many people are listening. Ironically, it was my state required therapist that told me the public is misinformed. Here's a woman that spends 40+ hours a week talking and counseling numerous convicted sexual offenders - and she was the one that told me sexual offenders have the lowest recidivism rates outside of murder. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006)
She shared with me that one study (... based on sex offenders released from prison in 1994) from the Department of Justice suggests:
Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (... men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime. Not only that, sex offenders were less likely than non-sex offenders to be rearrested for ANY criminal offense - 43 percent of sexual offenders versus 68 percent of non-sex offenders.
Again, these are facts and not hearsay. Once the public starts to accept these facts, perhaps sex offenders can move toward being encouraged to rehabilitate versus being shamed and avoided.
Article by Pete Carey. Pete is the featured author, editor and publisher of mySOlife.Com. As a registered sex offender, Pete writes openly about addiction, therapy and most importantly... "how to live life with a label."
Engage in the discussion while he shares not only his testimony, but also his thoughts, perspectives and advice at mySOlife.Com.