Child sexual abuse is an act that is on the rise globally, and this is deducible from the available statistics, which reveal that one out of fifteen to nineteen children is a victim or likely to fall victims in future (Kernsmith, et al., 2009, p. 186). Developing nations in Africa and Asia claim the highest share of this vice. The United States of America is one of a unique countries or nations when it comes to the issues of laws and handling of sexual assault offenders in general.
Though, it is imperative to note that many of the existing journals and works majorly concentrate on onslaught sexual offenders. Thus, leaving a gap as far as child rape offenders are concerned, whether in the United States or other parts of the world (Kernsmith, et al. 2009, p. 193). Punishment refers to the imposition of undesirable penalty on an individual or a group of people with an aim of suppressing an unbecoming behavior or act, while recidivism is the reoccurrence of the same behavior from the same individuals even after punishment.
Child sexual assault, on the other hand, implies a situation where an adult or older person misuses the younger person for sexual stimulation. A fact to note here is that even exposing the younger one to pornography still falls under child assault (Letourneau, et al. 2009, p.141). This paper sets out to provide a literature review of punishment and recidivism rate of child sexual assault offenders, through examination of a few pillars within the United States of America (Kernsmith, et al. 2009, p. 187). The purpose of this literature review is to understand the multiple policies that the United States of America possesses that help in curbing child sexual assault offenders (Tewksbury, & Lees, 2006, p. 334).
Type of Sex Offenders
Sex offenders are individuals arrested and convicted of sexually assaulting minors as well as adults. The term sex offender unlimited in meaning as it encompasses several vices. To understand sex offenders, this section brings forth the common types of sex offenders known on a worldwide scale, and they include
Individuals who defile children or their counterparts with a huge age difference, more than 1061 days are termed as child molesters (Eke, Seto, & Williams, 2011, p. 473). In most cases, these individuals are mostly sexually attracted to the children. Available works reveal that these persons have tendencies to commit the same vices when put under the same environs with minors where they end up establishing close relationships with family members or even acting as if they are strangers at times (Tewksbury, & Lees, 2006, p. 309).
Studies reveal that there exist same-sex child molesters as well as opposite-sex child molesters, but similar sex child molesters have many previous sex offenses, which stands at 53%. However, not all ends at this point as same-sex child molesters also have the highest rate of conviction in various justice department branches in the United States of America. Research by (Eke, Seto, & Williams, 2011, p. 469) reveals that incest child molesters have the least percentage regarding arrest as well as convictions, followed by opposite-sex child molesters, while same-sex child molesters take the front run. Their punishment rates are 115, 25%, and 30% respectively (Tewksbury, & Lees, 2006, p. 324). Several scholars also reveal that child molesters are highly prone to other offenses, which are not sexual in nature and can easily become criminals.
It is indicative from a 2002 case study that child molesters hardly take more than four years before committing similar crimes or offenses, which are sexual in nature and therefore has a high rate of recidivism (Kernsmith, et al. 2009, p. 190). Other researchers in their current studies affirm this further through following some individuals convicted of child molestation for six years and what is shocking is that within this duration, 31 % of the previously convicted individuals faced further reconviction.
The studies of child molesters’ ability to commit sexual offenses upon release from similar conviction. The majority of the individuals used as a sample in the study had several prior sexual assault experiences and therefore had no regrets in redoing the same (Eke, Seto, & Williams, 2011, p. 467). The major question that arises is why most of the individuals facing reconviction just upon release from similar crimes are married individuals as opposed to their single counterparts (Tewksbury, & Lees, 2006, p. 330). However, some scholars say this is normal and provide full support for it through clarifying that the married individual had several prior sexual offenses than their unmarried counterparts.
They are sexual assault offenders that engage in sexual activities with other individuals forcefully without their consent. It is the second type of sexual offenders, is always part of the society, and almost takes the largest share of the current communities in the United States of America after child molesters (Cossins, 2008, p. 362). The rate of Recidivism is precisely high in the sector as evidenced by various studies that show a high frequency of reconviction of the offenders. One such instance is the case study of follow-up of convicted and released rapists after a period of five years. In such situations, nine out of the 58 used as a sample fell victims of reconviction by the authorities as indicated by the psychiatry in the state of California within the United States of America (Letourneau, et al., 2009, p.136).
What surprises is that the result that represents roughly 20% reconviction rates was realized within the first quarter of the follow-up. It might even be higher if the entire five years are brought into consideration (Kernsmith, et al. 2009, p. 183). The results are even worse if the population of the individuals without mental disorders is under consideration because out of the available 68, 28 % are reconviction victims for the same sexual crimes within a short duration.
A further case study launched with 236 rapists and out of these 15 was rearrested for sexual mistreatment cases, while a further 60% also faced reconviction due to other criminal activities that are non-sexual in nature.
One scholar sets out to evaluate the variation in the results of the study of the recidivism rates among rapists and results, and his conclusion is that the studies are conducted during different periods with different intervals and a probability of different composition of the earth (Cossins, 2008, p. 371). It is, therefore, clear that despite serious punishment majorly through conviction; child sexual assault offense is constantly on the rise (Eke, Seto, & Williams, 2011, p. 477).
It is the third type of the sex offenders that various researchers utilize. It is a more reliable sample for case studies since it majorly or only concentrates in the prison where every person is a criminal apart from the wardens and staff. Records are also available, which enables the researcher notice if the sample is a sexual offender or a different type of offense (Kernsmith, et al. 2009, p. 186). Here, sexual assault offenders are put on probation, and their ability to repeat similar offenses is examined. A recent research focused on this population under probation with similar circumstances as those that they first committed the crimes with an exception being only stable income due to the provision of proper employment and smooth care (Tewksbury, & Lees, 2006, p. 320). The aim of these two improvements was to act as agents of reducing chances of the sexual offense. Results reveal that there were very few cases of recidivism (Eke, Seto, & Williams, 2011, p. 478). It is a clear indication that perhaps some individuals are victims of the sexual offense, because of normal life frustrations. But if they have good working conditions that give sufficient income that can drive them out of the abject poverty then everything will be well, and perhaps they will never face any conviction again in their lifetime.
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