Generality of deviance and predation: Crime-switching and specialization patterns in persistent sexual offenders
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Contrary to public perception, empirical studies have constantly shown that persistent sex offenders constitute a small sub-group of the sex offender population. Indeed, only a small sub-group of sex offenders tends to persist over time, as recidivism rates tend to be approximately 10 to 15% over a period of about five years after release.1 This small sub-group has attracted a lot of attention from the criminal justice system. Such attention led to the development of various risk assessment tools designed to help practitioners screening persistent offenders. Many characteristics have been identified, and theoretical models have been proposed. 2,3 In the meantime, however, the behavior of persistent sexual offenders has been overlooked to a great extent. One could reasonably question what those risk assessment tools are really predicting, as the criterion used to develop those instruments is "sexual recidivism," which includes much heterogeneity in its manifestations. Of interest is the fact that many predictors of sexual recidivism are related to offending characteristics, such as having offended against an extra familial, male, prepubescent victim. The purpose of this study is to build on previous studies to further understand the sexual criminal activity of persistent sexual offenders.4 Emphasis here is on the tendency for that sub-group of offenders to switch from one sex crime category to another. Building on the criminological literature, we investigated the sexual criminal versatility of persistent sex offenders and the associated risk factors.
Violent offenders: Theory, research, pubic policy, and practice
Causes and Prevention of Crime