Saturday, May 25, 2013

illusory justice

Murderers have the lowest recidivism rate of all felons. Only 1.2% of convicted murderers will commit another murder.

Sex offenders have the next lowest rate. Only around 5% of convicted sex offenders will commit another sex offense.

The highest rates? 
Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).
That list is in alphabetical order instead of highest to lowest but no matter how you order them, those look like career criminals. 

You know what's funny? 

None of them are prohibited from receiving food stamps. No one clamors for a registry of car thieves so we can restrict them from living within 2000 feet of a parking lot. I've never seen internet comments calling for burglars to be killed.

This is why: Burglary, robbery and the other crimes in that list happen frequently enough that most of those cases don't even make the headlines. Sex offenses in which someone is hurt or killed are very rare so they do end up in the headlines. The headlines and the news coverage of the former Penn State coach (you know who I could you not?) went on for months! 

Because something like that doesn't happen very often.

The criminals most likely to end up back in prison--the criminals most costly to the state and federal prison system because of their multiple incarcerations--return to their homes and families with barely a peep from the neighborhood. 

The term sex offender is applied without distinction. When laws are passed affecting sex offenders, the laws generally don't distinguish among the various crimes that landed someone on the registry.

The most abhorrent sex offenses are the ones that we see in the headlines so when people hear sex offender, that's what they think of. The bland term sex offender becomes charged with all the abhorrence we feel for the worst of sex offenses. Like an optical illusion, our minds are tricked. 

Streaker = sex offender = rapist.  

Are you sure? Look again.


Anonymous said...

You fail to consider the severity of the offense -- and the "reversibility"/restitution potential of the crime. Sure, it sucks to have your house or business broken into and your stuff stolen. But stolen items can be returned and are often covered by insurance if they aren't. If someone steals $100k from your bank account, they can (theoretically) return the money and you're no worse off.

You can't unsexually abuse a kid. Your husbands actions directly contribute to kids being abused. Take those blinders off lady!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Marie, I just found your blog today and I can't stop reading it. In fact, I think I am in love with you. We have tons of stuff in common. Unfortunately. I would love to chat with you personally. Please consider. Be blessed an press on. Wonderful job of not letting the haters get you down.

oncefallendotcom said...

Oh stuff it KateK. Robbers can traumatize people by pointing a loaded gun at someone or pistol whipping them. Not every registered citizen has abused a child. It is you that needs to take off your blinders.

Anonymous said...

Many recidivism studies can be found here

Marie said...

I know the feeling, Nancy. :-) You can email me.