A cohort of 136 rapists and 115 child molesters civilly committed to a prison in Massachusetts and followed for 25 years was examined for the effect of age at time of release on sexual reoffending.
The data support the general conclusion that risk of sexual reoffending diminishes as a function of increasing age at the time of release for rapists. There was a significant difference, however, in the reoffending patterns of rapists compared with child molesters according to age at release. Whereas the age-crime pattern was linear and declining among the rapists, child molesters had low reoffending rates according to age just after release, but then had a sharp increase before leveling off for several decades before declining at age 60. The highest risk period for child molesters was middle age (late 20s to mid-40s), followed by a decline. The difference in age-crime patterns of rapists and child molesters should be taken into account when assessing relative risk for reoffending. The study examined the reoffending rates for each of five age-at-release groups, separately for rapists and child molesters. The study tested the fit of linear and quadratic models for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years, using Cox regression analysis. 5 tables, 3 figures, and 30 references
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