Recidivism rate for sex offenders reportedly plummets since 1940s

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Sex offender recidivism rates have reportedly plunged since the 1940s

Researchers from Quebec and British Columbia reviewed 185 studies on the issue, which cover 226 groups of sex offenders, from 1940 to 2019.

< p class="e-p">The recidivism rate for sex offenders has plunged 70% in Canada since the 1940s, shows a meta-analysis by researchers from Quebec and British Columbia.

There have never really been any studies that have reported on the changing recidivism risk of sex offenders, said the study's first author, Professor Patrick Lussier. , from the Faculty of Social Sciences of Laval University. It's always been [assumed] that the risk is relatively high, the risk is relatively stable, for all sex offenders.

The 185 studies on the issue reviewed by the researchers looked at 226 groups of sex offenders between 1940 and 2019, for a total of about 56,000 subjects.

They found that, during this time, the recidivism rate weighted average sex ratio was 23% whereas nowadays it is around 7%, a drop of nearly 70%.

“This fall is not new, and it happened mostly without our knowledge . There are policies that have been added to reassure the population, to give tools to [justice], also to correctional services, to manage the risk assumed by sex offenders. But during that time, there were changes taking place. »

— Patrick Lussier, professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Laval University

The decline has been particularly significant in Canada since the 1970s and 1980s. Multiple factors are likely responsible accountable, he said, including a better understanding of delinquency and the factors associated with recidivism.

He also mentions closer collaboration between the correctional and university communities, as well as better training for interveners, which makes it possible to better meet the needs of this clientele and to work together to prevent recidivism, he said. he added.

The implementation of the Canadian sex offender registry in 2004, however, probably had nothing to do with it, added Mr. Lussier, since the decline started over 20 years ago.

By comparison, the much more repressive approach taken in the United States, which goes so far as to put the personal information of offenders online, has led to a decline of about 40% risk of recidivism.

“Canada has chosen not to go there, to bet on the institutions, on improving practices, on risk assessment, on risk management, on treatment problems for sex offenders. And it seems obvious, with the results that we have observed, that it has paid off. »

— Patrick Lussier, professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Laval University

And then that, we must remember, he said.

The important thing now, Mr. Lussier added, will be to communicate this data to the government and to the general population, since there are obviously quite significant barriers for people who have a history of sex crimes, where it is [assumed] that these people will inevitably commit a repeat offence.

Researchers will now try to determine whether the risk of recidivism fell for all types of sexual offending, or whether the improvements were greater (or more modest) in some cases.

The findings of this study by researchers from the #x27;Université Laval, Université de Montréal and Simon Fraser University have been published by the scientific journal Crimin ology and Public Policy.

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