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Rediscovering Quetelet, Again: The "Aging" Offender and the Prediction of Reoffending in a Sample of Adult Sex Offenders

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 26 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2009 Pages: 827-856
Patrick Lussier; Jay Healey
Date Published
December 2009
30 pages
This study explored the role of age at release on the risk of reoffending using a sample of sex offenders, and examined whether the risk of reoffending, assessed using actuarial tools, should be adjusted according to the offender's age at the time of release.
The findings were generally consistent with Quetelet's original observation about the age-crime curve. Most sex offenders do not reoffend sexually after being released from prisons and this study provides additional evidence of this observation. The results suggest that age at release should be an important component considered by risk assessors when considering cases for long term incapacitation and intensive community supervision. Ever since Quetelet's (1836) observation, the relationship between age and crime has been one of the most robust and stable empirical findings of criminological research. This study sought to examine to what extent the Static-99 risk assessment tool could identify recidivists after their prison release, clarify the role of age in the prediction of reoffending, and examine the possibility that reoffending is a dynamic process influenced by the effect of age across life course and the unfolding of the criminal career. The study consisted of a sample of 553 adult males convicted of a sexual offense, and who were all incarcerated at the Regional Reception Center in Quebec, Canada. Tables, references, and appendix


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