A false idea has gained traction. Is it too late to reverse?
In 1986, an article in Psychology Today, a magazine written for a general audience, stated, “Most untreated sex offenders released from prison go on to commit more offenses — indeed, as many as 80 percent do.” That article was written about a counseling program run about authors, and the statement was made to increase business for them, according to Adam Liptak, a New York Times author.
These false recidivism claims (“frightening and high”) have now made there way into court decisions and have influenced heavy restrictions for sex offenders since the 1980's.
Join me for this eye-opening podcast and learn the true recidivism rates for convicted sex offenders.
Courts Are Lying To You About Sex Offenders
A false idea has gained traction. Is it too late to reverse? In 1986, an article in Psychology Today, a magazine…
It’s The Outspoken Offender Podcast. My hope is to encourage registered citizens, former inmates, and anyone facing stereotypes and social ostracism to move beyond society’s labels. Welcome to the show.
Today on the podcast, I’m talking about something that has been bothering me for a while. I’ve been meaning to do this podcast for some time. It is about how courts are lying to us about sex offenders. And you’re probably wondering, well, how so? How are they lying? What are they doing? What are they doing wrong?
I’m sitting here thinking, am I on the sex offender registry beecause of these errors that were caused back in the late eighties? Perhaps you’re on the registry, perhaps, you know, somebody that is on it. I’m talking about the sex offender registry. Perhaps, you know, someone that is having to live with that label.
This concept of stranger danger really took off in the eighties and into the nineties. And unfortunately, some very sad, unfortunate crimes occurred that really kicked off the idea of stranger danger and the need to protect people from these perpetrators. We think of Jacob Wetterling, an 11 year old boy in 1989 was abducted from his home, from his street in Minnesota. And that incident sparked off the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children Violent Offender, Registration Act. Then we move ahead to Megan’s Law, 1996. A seven year old girl, Megan was raped and killed. These are horrible crimes. And so with that situation, Bill Clinton had signed Megan’s law. And then we move ahead again to the Adam Walsh Act of 2006. Adam Walsh was kidnapped from a Florida shopping mall and killed in 1981.
With that in mind, let’s go back to not the beginning, but to that “stranger danger” time that I was talking about, late eighties, early nineties. Before the Jacob Wetterling Act and before the Adam Walsh Act, how were we obtaining these recidivism rates for people that commit a sexual
offense? This is extremely upsetting to me because a lot of the laws and restrictions that we’re seeing are based on false statistics.
So in 1986, an article was written in psychology today. It was for lay people. It was for the common reader, not, doctors per se. And unfortunately they had an inaccurate estimate of recidivism rates for sexual offenses. And they said as high as 80%. And in the article, he says a number he called, quote, “frightening and high.” You may have heard of that phrase, frightening and high. So in this 1986 psychology article today, lawmakers, states…everybody loved that number because according to them, 80% was incredibly high and it is, but it’s false. But unfortunately they have used that false statistic in that article and for 91 judicial opinions and briefs filed in 101 cases since 1986. So that phrase was used in a 2003 decision upholding, Alaska Sex Offender Registration Law. And has been exceptionally influential. Again, more than 100 lower court decisions because of that, that false number.
And so you can see the chain reaction that has occurred since 1986. So it hasn’t just been the Supreme Court and the lower courts. More recently, the Bureau of Justice Statistics are now fueling myths about sex offense recidivism. It’s actually contradicting its own new data. If you can believe that. So the report is titled, “Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from State Prison on Nine Year Follow-Up from 2005 to 2014.” I’m going to put that report in the podcast link so you can check it out. What’s interesting about this report is they actually released a press release about the report. The press release is titled, “Sex offenders were three times as likely as other release prisoners to be rearrested for a sex offense.” I mean, talk about being like an alarmist, but is that true? It’s very, very misleading. And this is how. What the report doesn’t say is that the same comparisons can be made for other offense categories.
For example, people released from sentences for murder, homicide, things like that. People who served sentences for robbery were actually more than twice as likely to be arrested for robbery. Property crimes, drug offenses. So again, it’s very misleading and they want to put the scary title headline to this press release to reinforce recidivism rates that are inaccurate or misleading.
All right. So you’re wondering, well, what are the correct recidivism rates? You’re going to see varying responses online depending on the study, but don’t believe the 80%. Now, the Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows that within nine years after release, that’s important, nine years after release, people who serve sentences for sex offenses were much less likely to be rearrested for another sex offense (7.7%). Now we compare that for property crime, a rearrest rate, 24%. Drugs, 18.5%. A public order offense, 59%.
Okay. So let’s look at it this way, less than 67% of those who serve time for rape or sexual assault were rearrested for any offense. Okay. Not just a rape or sexual assault again, but any arrest making rearrest 20% less likely for this group than any other offense categories combined.
And it’s really unbelievable for me to see how the chain action has occurred throughout all these years. I mean in 1986 I was like I don’t know, 14 years old. But now I’m 47. And I have lived through all those years. Of course I wasn’t really thinking about these things before I was convicted. See, that’s the thing. If you haven’t been convicted of a sex crime or you don’t know anybody it really doesn’t register in your brain. You don’t think about these things, but my eyes have been opened now since my arrest in 2006. And yes, I made a horrible mistake and I take responsibility for that. But, the continued punishment with the sex offender registry is based off a 80% false statistic from 1986.
So what can be done to solve this big lie? Well, first thing it’s out in the news. We know that it was a lie. That’s the first step. Of course we’ve seen documentary films about the issue, Untouchable from 2016. So we’re getting media involved. We’re getting good reporters involved and they are starting slowly to report more accurate statistics. But you gotta be careful on what you look at online. Make sure that it’s accurate and do cross references and research.
Thanks for listening to my podcast today. Again, I’ll leave several links in the description so you can review for yourself. I want to back up the claims with some links to reports and some statistics that are actually true.
Thanks for listening. I am The Outspoken Offender and have a great day.
It’s The Outspoken Offender Podcast. My hope is to encourage registered citizens, former inmates, and anyone facing stereotypes and social ostracism. To move beyond society’s labels. Thanks for listening to the podcast. I’m the outspoken offender. You can find me on YouTube and Twitter. Remember you are not your label.