SEX OFFENDERS: NUMBER OF CONVICTIONS

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The prison group had 3.5 convictions per person, a number placing it exactly in the middle of the sex-offender groups with seven of them exceeding the prison figure and seven not reaching it. The total range is 2.36 to 5.48.
Two of the tripartite groups, the heterosexual offenders and the incest offenders, had fewer per capita convictions than the prison group; one tripartite group, the aggressors, had all of its constituent groups with more convictions than the prison group; and the remaining tripartite group, the homosexual offenders, was mixed in this respect. Both the peepers and exhibitionists had more convictions per person than did the prison group; this reflects their tendency toward compulsive repetitive peeping and exhibition rather than toward other criminality.
The offenders and aggressors against children of either sex tend definitely to have more convictions than those who offended or aggressed against minors and adults.
Differentiating the offenses according to whether they were misdemeanors or felonies is not particularly profitable even when one deals, as we have, with only misdemeanor and felony convictions resulting in imprisonment. The men whose sex offenses are often judged as more nuisance than danger, for example, peepers and exhibitionists, have large per capita numbers (2.18 and 2.47 respectively) of misdemeanors. Similarly those whose sex offenses do not outrage society— i.e., the offenders vs. minors and adults—have, like the prison group, more misdemeanors than felonies. On the other hand, those who deeply offend society, those who use force or become involved with children, have more per capita felony convictions than misdemeanors. Furthermore, within every tripartite group the offender or aggressor against children has the largest number of felony convictions.
The criminality of the aggressors is again clear in a simple tabulation of the percentages of individuals with various numbers of convictions: they had from 14 to 28 per cent of their members with seven or more convictions whereas only 9 per cent of the prison group equaled this unenviable record. This same table also illustrates the tendency for offenders or aggressors vs. children to have had more convictions than offenders or aggressors vs. minors or adults.
Confining our attention to convictions for sex offenses, we find that the exhibitionists, as the tables show, have the dubious honor of having had the largest number of convictions: 3.12 per person. The peepers had the next largest number (2.52), and the incest offenders vs. adults the fewest (1.24). In three of the four tripartite groups the offenders or aggressors against children have more per capita sex-offense convictions than those whose sexual objects were minors and adults. In all four tripartite groups the aggressors or offenders vs. adults had the smallest per capita figure. While it is possible, but not probable, that those whose sexual acts concerned adults “learned their lesson” from punishment more readily than those who were involved with younger people, we feel the per capita statistics simply show that it is dangerous to consort sexually with minors and even more dangerous to do so with children.
The sex offenses mentioned above were for most groups chiefly the ones for which they were named. Most sex offenders specialize, so to speak, in one type of offense which we refer to as the specific type. Thus, for example, of the 1.39 sex offenses per offender vs. adults 1.06 were offenses against adult females and 0.34 were other types of sex offenses. The offenders and aggressors vs. adults tend to confine their offenses to one type whereas the offenders and aggressors vs. children and minors are more prone to other types of sex offenses in addition to the one for which they were named. In all but two groups the per capita number of specific type sex offenses (the “label type,” so to speak) heavily outweighs the number of nonspecific type offenses. However, among the aggressors vs. children the two figures are rather close, and among the aggressors vs. minors the nonspecific sex offenses actually slightly exceed in number the specific type. These two aggressor groups, it will be recalled, also showed a lack of specificity in broader categories of crime: relatively few of them confined themselves to sex offenses.

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