Timeframe is another important consideration. What is the population being tracked in the study and over what time period? Is it recidivism rate calculated over a 1 year period, 5 year period, 10 year period, etc. All these factors are important to control for an accurate apples-to-apples comparison.
I don’t believe citing these studies and low recidivism rates are enough ammunition to “win” the argument against abolishing or reducing the impact of sex offender laws and registries. The counter arguments will be: 1) the recidivism rates are low because of the tough laws and registry requirements. If they didn’t exist, the recidivism rate would be much higher. 2) Even though the recidivism rate is low and many people may be “inconvenienced” by these laws, if it saves one child from being abused, it is worth it.
I’ve seen studies and arguments against 1)…the before/after recidivism rates don’t change when tougher laws are enacted. However, we need to have some good talking points supported by solid quantitative evidence to counter 2). This article provides some solid reasoning for why prevention efforts (and associated $$) would be better served elsewhere. If lawmakers and their constituents can be convinced that investment would be better served elsewhere then we might make some headway.