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Publication Recidivism of Sex Offenders Released from State Prison: A 9-Year Follow-Up (2005-14)

Mariel Alper, Ph.D., Matthew R. Durose, BJS Statisticians

May 30, 2019    NCJ 251773

This study compares released prisoners whose most serious commitment offense was rape or sexual assault to all other released prisoners, in terms of their characteristics and recidivism patterns. It is BJS's first recidivism study on sex offenders with a 9-year follow-up period. It tracks a representative sample of prisoners released in 2005 in 30 states (these states were responsible for 77% of all state prisoners released nationwide) and examines their arrests through 2014. The source data are from prisoner records reported by state departments of corrections to BJS's National Corrections Reporting Program and criminal-history records from the FBI's Interstate Identification Index and state repositories via the International Justice and Public Safety Network.


Within 9 years of their release from prison in 2005—

  • Rape and sexual assault offenders were less likely than other released prisoners to be arrested, but they were more likely than other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault.
  • Released sex offenders were more than three times as likely as other released prisoners to be arrested for rape or sexual assault (7.7% versus 2.3%).
  • About two-thirds (67%) of released sex offenders were arrested for any crime, compared to about five-sixths (84%) of other released prisoners.
  • Half of released sex offenders had a subsequent arrest that led to a conviction.
  • Released sex offenders accounted for 5% of releases in 2005 and 16% of arrests for rape or sexual assault during the 9-year follow-up period.

Part of the Recidivism of Prisoners Released Series

Press Release (90K)
Summary (PDF 460K)
Full report (PDF 635K)
Data tables (Zip format 46K)

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Recidivism of State Prisoners

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