The Predictive Power of Juvenile Sex Offending: Evidence from the Second Philadelphia Birth Cohort Study
29 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2007
Date Written: June 21, 2007
There is very little information available about whether juvenile sex offending predicts sex crime in adulthood. In this study, we use data from the Second Philadelphia Birth Cohort Study to examine the natural history of sex offenders and their involvement in sexual offending through age 26. A number of key findings emerged from our effort. First, one in ten juvenile sex offenders has a sex-related offense during the first eight years of adulthood. Second, 92% of all the cohort males with adult sex records had no juvenile sex offense. Third, a Philadelphia boy with no sex contacts but five or more total juvenile police contacts is more than twice as likely to commit a sex crime as an adult as a juvenile sex offender with fewer than five total police contacts. Taken together, the results indicated that the assumptions underpinning current registration and notification laws are fraught with problems and should be re-considered.
Keywords: sex offender, juvenile justice
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