Inevitable Recidivism: The Origin and Centrality of an Urban Legend

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 34, p. 186, April 2011

10 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2012  

Tamara Rice Lave

University of Miami, School of Law

Date Written: April 1, 2011

Abstract

This paper examines the pervasive conviction that sex offenders – particularly child molesters – will continue to re-offend. This belief in inevitable recidivism turns out to be absolutely essential to both the justification for, and the structure of, the sexually violent predator laws. When actual evidence of sex offender recidivism is examined, however, a huge gap exists between what is assumed and what the data actually show because most sex offenders do not in fact re-offend. Thus there is a galaxy of sexually violent predator laws and an entire branch of Supreme Court jurisprudence that is founded upon a demonstrable urban legend.

Keywords: Sex offender, recidivism, U.S. Supreme Court, public perceptions, socially constructed truth

Suggested Citation

Lave, Tamara Rice, Inevitable Recidivism: The Origin and Centrality of an Urban Legend (April 1, 2011). International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 34, p. 186, April 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2153285

Tamara Rice Lave (Contact Author)

University of Miami, School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.miami.edu/facadmin/tlave.php

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