What is a violent sex offender

Department of Justice study, which found that of nearly 10, people convicted of sexual crimes and released from state prisons in — the year the Minnesota program began — 5. If the court were to revisit this basic claim about sex offenders, it might look differently at the myriad restrictions on housing and work that states have enacted, and which are increasingly being challenged successfully in lower courts.

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If the court rules against the program, the much more difficult task will lie ahead: drawing lines between which civil commitment programs are acceptable and which are not. David Prescott, former president of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, notes that some states, like Wisconsin and New York, have managed to create civil commitment programs that do let people out, which further suggests that Minnesota is an outlier in the other direction.

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This section reviews the evidence of crossover offending, which challenges the validity of traditional sex offender typologies those that are based on a known victim type. Crossover offending presents significant challenges to traditional sex offender typologies. Despite differences in location and supervision status of offenders, crossover offending has been reported in studies using guaranteed confidentiality, anonymous survey or treatment with polygraphy 4 Abel et al.

The findings indicate that offenders, on average, admit significantly more victims and offenses than are documented in official records. Using official record databases containing 1, incarcerated sexual offenders, Cann et al.

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  7. Cann et al. Using polygraph testing combined with treatment, Heil, Ahlmeyer and Simons examined offense patterns of incarcerated and paroled sex offenders.

    This study found that the average number of victims reported in official records two for incarcerated offenders and one for paroled offenders increased to 18 and three, respectively, after polygraph testing. The average number of offenses reported in official records increased from 12 for incarcerated offenders and three for paroled offenders to and 14 respectively, after polygraph testing. These studies have also demonstrated that male sexual offenders engage in crossover sexual offending at higher rates than reported in other studies e.

    Age crossover i. Of further interest is the high percentage of official record-identified rapists who admit child sexual victimization. With respect to gender crossover i. The majority of offenders who assault males have also assaulted females 63—92 percent , but not the reverse 23—37 percent.

    With respect to relationship crossover, studies have shown that 64—66 percent of incest offenders report sexually assaulting children who they were not related to Abel and Osborn, ; English et al. Recent studies have found similar rates of crossover referred to as polymorphism using official records coupled with treatment and assessment files. Using a combination of official record and treatment files, Stephens et al.

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    The most common type of polymorphism consisted of age 35 percent ; 13 percent of offenders were gender polymorphic and 11 percent were relationship polymorphic. In addition, polymorphic offenders had a greater number of sexual assault victims. Although Stephens et al. Sims and Proeve studied the prevalence and patterns of offending against more than one victim type and its relationship to risk of sexual recidivism.

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    To avoid underestimation of sexual offending using official records, a victim was counted if there was a conviction, charge or arrest and the sample included only sexual offenders against children and adolescents with more than one victim. The prevalence rate for sexual offenders who crossed over into at least one domain i. In this study, 48 percent of sexual offenders reported adult and child victims, 22 percent sexually offended against both genders and 26 percent crossed over into the relationship domain.

    Sexual offenders who victimized both adult and child victims and crossed over in the relationship domain had more victims than those who did not crossover. Crossover was not associated with sexual recidivism rate or frequency of offending. With respect to victim type stability over time, repeat offending was not stable in the age domain; offenders with victims 5 years old or younger show the least stability i. Offenders showed the most stability in the gender domain particularly whose index victim was female.

    Studies have also shown the rates of age crossover are higher when adolescents are included as a distinct age category vs.


    In their examination of crossover offending, Kleban et al. Using archival records of incarcerated offenders, this study examined the prevalence of crossover offending from three victim categories across three domains age, gender and relationship.

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    Kleban et al. Results indicated 35 percent of offenders had multiple victims at index offense and 26 percent of offenders were convicted of a previous sex crime. Of those with multiple victims at index crime, 13 percent sexually assaulted both genders; 14 percent had a conviction that included a combination of child, adult and adolescent victims; 13 percent had assaulted victims from multiple relationship categories. Of the repeated offenders, 21 percent offended against victims of both genders; 40 percent victimized a combination of adults, adolescents and children; and 48 percent assaulted victims from multiple relationships.

    When adolescents were excluded completely, only 5 percent of offenders crossed over from child to adult victim, which suggests examining crossover offending using broad categories of adult and child results in an underestimation of age crossover. Likewise, offenders were more likely to offend against adolescents and children rather than adults and children, suggesting victims should be classified according to developmental characteristics not age.

    These findings illustrate the importance of a comprehensive history for treatment and management decisions. Among female sexual offenders, Heil, Simons and Burton reported similar findings with respect to offense patterns. Using polygraph testing, Simons and colleagues examined the offense patterns of incarcerated female sex offenders and female sex offenders who had been released in the community. The sample consisted of 74 incarcerated adult female sexual offenders and 22 female sexual offenders in the community who were under supervision at the Colorado Department of Corrections.

    All participants received cognitive-behavioral treatment. Offense patterns disclosed during treatment with polygraph testing revealed similar findings to those of male offenders.

    Female sexual offenders reported more extensive offense patterns i. Simons and colleagues demonstrated that the average number of victims — reported in official records as one for both incarcerated offenders and offenders in the community — increased to four and three, respectively, after polygraph testing.

    The average number of offenses increased from 33 for incarcerated offenders and five for offenders in the community to 44 and 13, respectively. In comparison to female sexual offenders in the community, incarcerated female sexual offenders reported significantly more offenses, but these groups were comparable in the number of victims.

    After polygraph testing, 21 percent of incarcerated females and 11 percent of female offenders in the community reported age crossover i. Both incarcerated offenders 30 percent and those in the community 21 percent disclosed relationship crossover i. This study indicates that female sexual offense patterns may be less extensive than those of male sexual offenders. Nonetheless, this research indicates that female offenders report poor sexual boundaries regarding illegal behaviors and they also disclose legal, but sexually problematic, behaviors. In addition, female offenders were more likely to co-offend than male offenders.

    Based on polygraph testing, these co-offenses were seldom coercive and the majority of women sexually assaulted alone either before or after the co-offense. Polygraph testing has also recently been used to distinguish internet offenders who commit "hands-on" child sexual assault from those who do not attempt physical sexual contact. Some internet sex offenders do not attempt physical contact or engage in hands-on sexual offending e. This classification is important because those individuals who view or download child abuse images but do not have inappropriate contact with children may not pose a direct threat.

    A recent meta-analysis examined the prevalence of child sexual abuse among internet offenders. Seto, Hanson and Babchishin reviewed 24 studies and found that In this meta-analysis, only one study used polygraph testing to verify the self-report.