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How big of an issue is recidivism in Florida?

The penalties and limitations that are put in place for people convicted of a sex crime are particularly harsh. Authorities and supporters of these measures argue that they are effective ways at reducing recidivism, or a relapse in criminal behaviors.

However, this has been a point of contention when it comes to sex offenders. It has been argued that many people convicted of sex crimes are not at a significant risk of engaging in repeat behaviors. They may have made a mistake, but there is no reason to suspect that they would continue to pose a danger to others. But the fear associated with these crimes can distort some of this information.

When we look at numbers reported for offenses related to sexual or lewd behaviors in Florida, we get a much more accurate picture of recidivism rates in this state. According to a 2013 Florida Prison Recidivism Study, about 30 percent of people who were convicted of these offenses have returned to prison.

People serving time for a primary offense stemming from sexual or lewd conduct had a higher recidivism rate than people convicted of violent or drug crimes, but a lower rate when compared to people convicted of crimes like robbery and burglary.

We can also see that offenders under the age of 25 had the highest rate of recidivism, and men were much more likely to re-offend than women.

With all this information in mind, we can see that the majority of people convicted of sexual or lewd offenses in Florida do not end up back in prison. And those who do are more likely to be young males. 

Despite all this information, people still can assume that every person convicted of a sex offenses poses a threat to others in the community. In order to avoid this unfair characterization, people facing charges can work with an attorney to avoid conviction in the first place or explore alternatives to prison sentences that instead favor rehabilitation.

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