Those damn statistics again

By Sandy . . . The Alpena News, in reporting about the situation in Michigan where deadlines for registry reform set by the court have been ignored by Michigan legislators, used the opportunity to “enlighten” the public with some statistics about persons on the registry.

“Data released in May by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates sex offenders are less likely to be arrested than other types of offenders. About two-thirds of released sex offenders studied were arrested within nine years of their release, compared to 84% of other released prisoners,” they write.

In spite of this being presented as a “good” statistic for registry reform advocates – less likely than others — anyone writing about this finding should clarify that many of those arrests are for crimes that apply to no one on earth except for persons required to be on a sex offender registry. A plethora of these various infractions are classified as “failure to register” or “failure to comply” and include offenses such as failing to add a new car or report a change of address in a timely manner, often two or three days.

In many states these oversights can land one in jail. Several years ago in Texas, Josh Gravens was on the verge of being behind bars, facing up to 25 years’ imprisonment, for a minor technicality – Failure to Comply with Registration Requirements, which in Texas and other states is a felony. He was at the registration office to update a change of address when he was arrested because he hadn’t followed the procedure of registering the new address seven days before the move, which is the law.

As the move was precipitated by a sudden marital separation, Josh hadn’t known seven days previously that he would be moving. Didn’t matter. This had occurred once before during a month’s work trip when he failed to register his temporary address in another state in time, so he was a repeat offender in this area.

In some states, the list of reportable items is extensive, and thus the risk of oversight and violation is high. In Florida, the requirements are name; social security number; age; race; sex; date of birth; height; weight; tattoos or other identifying marks; hair color; eye color; photograph; address of legal residence (or temporary residence); electronic mail addresses; Internet identifiers; each Internet identifier’s corresponding website homepage or application software name; home telephone numbers; cellular telephone numbers; employment information; driver’s license or Florida ID information; the make, model, color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license tag number of all vehicles owned.

Not content, however, with the two-thirds finding, the Alpena News goes on to include this: “However, released sex offenders were three times more likely to be re-arrested for rape and sexual assault than other released prisoners.”

Including this factual information from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ report without putting it in context is a great disservice to the public and one which has been protested more than once.

The Maynard Law Office, in analyzing the BJS report, wrote, “…there are other details in the study that impact our presentation of recidivism rates. While felons without a sex offense conviction were less likely to be arrested for a subsequent sex offense (2.3% v. 7.7%), there are a lot more of those ex-felons (381,093) than sex offenders (20,195) being released into the community. So in terms of risk to the public, a citizen is much more likely (six times more likely) to be sexually assaulted by an ex-felon without a sex offense than one with a sex offense.”

And is it really shocking that, “…released sex offenders were three times more likely to be re-arrested for rape and sexual assault than other released prisoners”? This is true of any category of felon. Released burglars are more likely to be re-arrested for burglary than those whose offense was not burglary. Released arsonists are more likely to be re-arrested for a new arson offense than those with crimes other than arson. And so on.

Advocates for maintaining the current system, those who oppose laws based on facts and dumping the registry for a system that at least has a chance of working, use every means at their disposal to further their agenda, and statements like “Two-thirds were arrested within nine years” and “Three time as likely to commit future sexual assaults” fit their agenda just fine.

But those statements only tell a part of the story. Context matters.

A piece published earlier this year at corrections.com by Leonard A. Sipes, Jr. made use of those findings in order to make his case for the dangerousness of those on sexual offense registries. Not satisfied however, Mr. Sipes resorts to the tired old appeal about the high percentage of unreported sexual crime, writing, “Please keep in mind that sex offenses are vastly underreported and, because of their non-stranger component, problematic to investigate and prove. This finding is an undercount.”

They are problematic in other ways too. Indeed, this particular bit of information doesn’t appear to have any actual bearing on the issue or the findings.

Since approximately 95% of new sexual crime [p.15] is committed by those with no previous sexual crime convictions, unreported offenses have little to no impact on re-offense rates. Indeed, if every sexual crime were reported, there is no evidence that the rate of re-offense would alter in the slightest. The very reason that so much sexual assault goes unreported is that it is committed by those with family or other close connections to the victims, those who have most likely never entered the criminal justice system at all. Simply put, it has no bearing.

Mark Twain said, crediting it to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Those who write on issues that impact the public and affect the lives of millions of people have an obligation to use statistics accurately, honestly, truthfully, and ethically.

 

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Sandy Rozek

Sandy is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.

This topic contains 11 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Saddles 1 day, 2 hours ago.

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  • #59807 Reply
    Sandy Rozek
    Sandy Rozek
    Admin

    By Sandy . . . The Alpena News, in reporting about the situation in Michigan where deadlines for registry reform set by the court have been ignored by
    [See the full post at: Those damn statistics again]

  • #59823 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. I am sure there is a lot of truth in that speech and considering this registry it should ring bells for us and others that this registry must be banished in many ways, or do we believe everything we hear today. Sure we can all go with theory, statistics, recidivism rates, hear say, or gossip but for the truth be known there is only one direct approach and that is truth and reason or is the truth stranger than fiction in this cosmetic type of internet scheme in many fo these ordeals . Now I never got into Mark Twain that much

    Quotes aside. Some talk about a data base but there is a data base greater than any human can imagine and He even know’s every hair on your head so somethings wagging in a lot of this sex regristy mark-up. If a person wants to know about who’s lying and who’s telling the truth just read what the bible says and that is true principal for all of mankind. So who’;s offending and who’s instilling true justice in truth. I would guess these sex offenses are truth, justice, and the American way for many of these registry encounters.

    Don’t get me wrong folks but when Justice overlaps true principal than who is abusing who in this unjust nation of true justice or who is tresspassing against who in this war of statitic inbalance. Who is inducing and who is seducing. Just my view.

  • #59822 Reply
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    Ed C

    What everyone seems to ignore about that damned BJS report is that for the purpose of the study the term “sex offenders” is defined as “released prisoners whose most serious commitment offense was rape or sexual assault.” That is stated clearly in the first paragraph and footnote 1. These represent only a very small subset of those on the registry. Most who quote the study will not make that point clear, or may intentionally obscure it.

    In the common vernacular the term “sex offender” includes all registered persons. Uninformed or inattentive readers will assume the BJS statistics apply to everyone. While it might be true that those formerly convicted of rape or sexual assault are three times as likely to subsequently commit a rape or sexual assault, it is definitely NOT true of all sex offenders.

    Truth does matter. Unfortunately most people will not easily give up their beliefs even in the face of overwhelming data.

    Thanks for another great article, Sandy. Veritas.

  • #59811 Reply
    Avatar
    Tim in WI

    Sandy,
    The state of Michigan has essentially told Judge ” piss off! ” We are ignoring your instructions to fall in line with your authority granted by the people to compel us to change Michigan law.

    Unfortunately there is no strict liability for non enforcement upon the states.
    Historically we’ve seen a President call out the national guard upon a state for refusing admittance of negros to Alabama public Schools because of Governor George Wallace’s pro segregationist position.

    Clearly some segregation is occurring with registrants too. Imagining the Don sending the national guard to Michigan to enforce whatever is difficult to do. Perhaps that is why SCOTUS did not take up the case. All MI Registrants could be protesting loudly but alas few actually are. Ashamed and afraid they are and no other reasonable leadership. Michigan’s ex post registrant population have given up their right to remain silent and their sovereignty in silence. God help them.

    Registrants being the first sold out to big data have made way for the rest. Now our children are compelled to purchase identity theft else their financial future compromised. This the the nation we’ve handed to future generations one be holding to big data and big brother. IMHO, the re:public lost.

    Simply put, the term “registry” was a marketing choice which glossed over a congressional choice; the plain indenture ( enslavement ) of human to database machine for cimes. The term ” Sex offender” sold the notion whole to the whole of the nation. To protect the children but not from the databases themselves.

    That is the case I will soon make to a jury of twelve here in Rock County WI.
    I will prove fiat in WI law for profit. What was a sanction for doing became a a sanction for not! and all by fed cop influence.
    Just like old King George. It was the spark that ignited the tea party on the Boston docks. I honestly feel sorry for Agent Fugate. I look forward to pointing out the two plea boxes on that sole(1) judgment from 91.
    Defendant Plea: Guilty [ ]. Not Guilty[x]
    Term: Indeterminate term not to exceed 60 months.
    Pre conviction custody credit 3 day’s. They’ve jailed me many times without jury first being assembled for FTR. Once with but only cause I told them to shove probation 2011. This time Norma Grace Constanteneau hits the record in pretrial this month. If it holds they’re done listing me world wide.

  • #59861 Reply
    Avatar
    d

    If the state does something to a citizen that the court has told them they cannot do then the citizen has a tort claim against the state for any damages that were caused by this illegal action. Sue their a$$ off until they comply.

    • #59880 Reply
      Avatar
      Alexander C Miles

      Good luck getting any damage award from a US jury!

      • #59942 Reply
        Avatar
        d

        You have a good point today, but every day more and more of the Jury people’s fathers, brothers, and sons are getting on the registry soon your statement will be untrue.

  • #59860 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    One wonders who says fire in a theater when their is no fire or who says I smell the oder of marijuana to search one’s car or brain. Interesting. Sandy with this article you have something here and all you have to do is put the pieces together. I was always taught let the crime fit the punishment or the punishment fit the crime but this sex ordeal is a whole different spectrum in this internet age. Who is inducing in this material crime via internet. I’m sure one can understand man and woman relationships even blackmail in some instances.

    Sure statistics are like comparing apples to lemons or garlic to onion’s. In real time all or many of us on the registry are being conned. Do you think Hittler was ordained to murder, imprison and torcher. Its all about principal. Sure we can all talk about “Protests” but that may lead to kayo or crossfire.. Getting involved with this sex thing is not an easy picture but principal still holds true. One thing thats puzzling is who induces to protect or is something wrong with this miscariage of justice and true principal in many of these internet ordeals.

    We can all talk about discrimination but that has been around since the dawn of time but true value is more the direct approach and morally right. Sandy much of these ordeals are all part of the game to these men in blue. Call it a high-five if you want. Taking advantage of others just because they have authority but even authority has to do things right and authority has its constutional limitations. One wonders who has the ultimate authority. Reprimanidng one is a bit better than leaving these boys in prison for so many odd years and is a bit punitive to say the least, or charging them for each porno pic they have or some little thing like a loose tongue or should we all just tell dirty jokes or or suggestive ones in public.

  • #59948 Reply
    Avatar
    aurelius

    This article and all the replies make it so hard not to be blackpilled at this point. The registry is evil, pure and simple. Evil seems to be winning these days, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that sees it that way.

    • #59953 Reply
      Avatar
      Tim in WI

      Aurilius,
      EVIL?
      It is a machine plainly. A machine holds no emotion. EVIL is a term from the bible, like marriage. These are abstracted concepts defined strictly by convention of the social variety.

      The issue is ” use” like uses of a gun, a drone, an Ab@mb.
      Law forcing human subservient to machine. H<M.

      Plainly speech & custody is implicated by registering, ALWAYS WAS!
      SOR forms are agents, in your mailbox, in your home looking over your shoulder at your internet use! How else are the agents going to get an email address created today, tomorrow or next week? Machines are tracking humans. Voting machines are electronic vote collectors, correlators, tabulators, AND RESULTS! ID and tax refund theft is a huge problem. LIFE LOCK is really raking it in big time. The regime has negative outcomes in residency restriction & vigilante; each a form of lawlessness. What rancher advertises the worst of his herd world wide? The soon bankrupted!

      • #59958 Reply
        Avatar
        d

        Evil is alive and well Tim! Trying to dismiss anything related to the Bible is evil in my book! Evil is in the dictionary too. It is not made up and is very much alive in this society.

  • #59970 Reply
    Avatar
    Saddles

    I’m beginning to like this article. Lets see we have this marketing choice for the sex registry, the word evil that one presented on here, and we have machine data base, but still we have no truth or true principal, so where does decision come into the picture when making the choice?

    Sure Sandy is right about seeking truth and reporting it but who covers-up today in this random internet inducement to stain another in this internet sex ordeal or just about any other ordeal that man wants to cover-up.
    Sure I can live with my probation and my suspension to vote if thats the case, I’m sure we all can but being blackballed or black listed is a bit to hard to swallow for one. Its just like congress someone wants to be right when they don’t even understand their actions. They want the high-five from others. I do wrong every day some how, I’m sure we all do and don’t even know it. But truth is nothing to sneeze about. Justifying the truth should be the goal of any journlist or lawyer or Judge but is all this life at its best and let the others suffer in their downfall because of truth and principal.

    Police are not easy to talk to when something like this ordeal occures as they have their own set of rules and Probation officers are just doing what the judge ask them. In other words they are just a listening device when they do the home visits and don’t really have any sympathy as long as they get paid, just the way reporting is and covering up is and its all a money trail but evil is behind all of this in scamish way. Even these lie detector tests are a bit out of character in these ordeals or intimidation at best.

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