The Sex Offender
A 2002 study by the United States Department of Justice indicated that recidivism rates among sex offenders was 5.3 percent; that is, about 1 in 19 of released sex offenders were later arrested for another sex crime. The same study mentioned that 68 percent of released non-sex offenders were rearrested for any crime (both sex and non-sex offenses) , while 43 percent of the released sex offenders were rearrested for any crime (and 24 percent re-convicted) .
A collection of official studies spanning the years 1983-2010 for all 50 states and the federal government of the US has been assembled. This URL provides a spreadsheet and.zip file containing sources supporting the DOJ study, where the average recidivism of sex offenders committing new sex crimes since 1983 is approximately 9 percent, compared to the 42 percent average recidivism rate for all felony offenders committing any new felony offense.
According to the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) of the United States Department of Justice, in New York State, the recidivism rate for sex offenders has been shown to be lower than any other crime except murder. Another report from the OJP which studied the recidivism of prisoners released in 1994 in 15 states (accounting for two-thirds of all prisoners released in the United States that year) reached the same conclusion.
In 2007 the State Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina made significant changes to its sex-offender registration system, including new search criteria that include an 'offender status' search (enabling an explicit search for convicted sex-offense recidivists in the sex-offender database) . Manual searches (by county) using the new criteria yield some of the lowest recidivism rates ever disseminated by any law-enforcement establishment. In the entire state of North Carolina there are only 71 recidivists shown on the registry, if incarcerated offenders are included. Per-county results for 'registered'-status offenders (compared with 'recidivist'-status offenders) on the North Carolina registry yield actual convicted recidivist percentages ranging from zero to a fraction of one percent.
Of released sex offenders who allegedly committed another sex crime,40 percent perpetrated the new offense within a year or less from their prison discharge. Within three years of release,2.5 percent of released rapists were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2 percent of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for a new homicide. Of the 9,691 male sex offenders released from prisons in 15 US states in 1994,5.3 percent were rearrested for a new sex crime within 3 years of release. Sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison (5.3 percent of sex offenders, versus 1.3 percent of non-sex offenders) . An estimated 24 percent of those serving time for rape and 19 percent of those serving time for sexual assault had been on probation (or parole) at the time of the offense for which they were in state prison in 1991. On a given day in 1994, there were approximately 234,000 offenders convicted of rape or sexual assault under the care, custody, or control of corrections agencies; nearly 60 percent of these sex offenders were under conditional supervision in the community.
Approximately 4,300 child molesters were released from prisons in 15 US states in 1994. An estimated 3.3 percent of these 4,300 were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within 3 years of release from prison. Among child molesters released from prison in 1994,60 percent had been in prison for molesting a child 13 years old or younger. The median age of victims of those imprisoned for sexual assault was less than 13 years old; the median age of rape victims was about 22 years. Child molesters were, on average, five years older than violent offenders who committed their crimes against adults. Nearly 25 percent of child molesters were age 40 or older, but about 10 percent of inmates with adult victims were in that age group.