OJP Blog: What do we know about sex offenders? August 15, 2017

25 Aug 2017 8:42 AM | Julie Patrick (Administrator)
Check out this blog by By Dawn Doran, Acting Director, Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking!

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Recognizing the ever-growing body of research on sex offenders and sexual offending, the Department of Justice's Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office developed the Sex Offender Management Assessment and Planning Initiative (SOMAPI). SOMAPI summarizes the current state of sex offender management research and practice and recommends steps to bolster the evidence behind certain strategies used to contain and manage this population.

The SOMAPI report provides an overview of the extent of sexual abuse in the U.S., explains what we know about the causes of this behavior and how we classify sex offenders, gives recidivism rates for different groups of offenders and reviews what we know about assessing, treating and managing adults and juveniles who commit sex offenses. Adults and juveniles differ significantly in their capacity to weigh the consequences of decisions and control their behavior — as well as their likelihood to reoffend — so the report is divided into two sections: what we know about adults and what we know about juveniles who commit sex crimes.

Highlights from the SOMAPI report show that most sexual offenses are not reported to law enforcement and, therefore, most sex crimes are not accounted for in official arrest and conviction rates. However, we do know that different types of sex offenders have markedly different reoffense rates. Overall rates of sexual recidivism range from 5 percent after three years to 24 percent after 15 years.


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