Sex Offenders Impress McHenry County Sheriff.

Ok, maybe I made that up.  It seems like a reasonable inference, though.  Why else would the McHenry County Sherrif’s Department be issuing press releases and posting them to the web page.

Earlier today, Nygren’s office issued the following:


11/21/2013 12:00:00 AM

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office announced today the completion of a recent sex offender compliance operation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and the United States Marshal Service. The week long operation was conducted to ensure that all registered sex offenders were compliant with the statutory requirements. A total of 80 compliance checks were conducted during this operation.

Illinois State law only requires annual checks; however, Sheriff’s Office investigators conduct bi-annual verifications to make sure that registered sex offenders are providing accurate home addresses, as well as employer and vehicle information. It is a violation of the Illinois Registered Sex Offender Law to not report any change in address or employment.

The sex offender compliance operation started November 19, 2013 and continued through November 21, 2013. The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office is committed to ensuring that all registered sex offenders remain in compliance with state law.

“If a member of the public becomes aware of a violation, they are encouraged to call our office at 815-338-2144 or call Crimestoppers at 1-800-762-STOP”, stated Undersheriff Andrew Zinke.  “All of the registered sex offenders were found to be in compliance”.

I thought that sex offenders are always out lurking in the shadows while plotting, scheming and trying to re-offend?  That’s what I’ve been lead to believe, anyway- that people on this list are just about the most serious danger as they can’t control themselves and they’re over-run by impulse.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, that’s not quite true.  Their study dealt with the worst of the offenders (the ones who had gone to prison).  It also applied a very lenient definition of “recidivism”.  According to them, recidivism is “measured by criminal acts that resulted in the rearrest, reconviction, or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a three-year period following the prisoner’s release.” (emphasis added).  This, of course means that even innocent people (those merely charged who subsequently were found not guilty or had cases dismissed) were counted as folks who had re-offended!

By that standard, over the 3 years following release from prison there was a recidivism rate of 2.5%

So, McHenry County appears to be home to 80 sex offenders. If the BJS statistics are true you can assume a 2.5% recidivism rate over a 3 year span, right?

Wrong.  First, you’d have to assume that all 80 were among the “worst of the worst” and had gone to prison.  If that were true, you could assume 2.5% would be charged with a new sex offense every 3 years. That math works out to 2 people. 2. Two. T-w-o.  Less than one per year.  And since it didn’t even matter in that study if they were actually guilty, the number of sex offenders actually re-committing sex crimes is lower than that assumed figure.

Even with those assumptions the math comes out to… a lower risk to re-offend than just about any crime anywhere, including speeding, DUI, underage possession of alcohol, and dealing drugs.

I’m not saying that any sex offense is a good thing.  I’m just saying that the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office found that all of the McHenry County Sex Offenders were doing exactly as ordered.  That doesn’t surprise me.  It shouldn’t surprise you, either.

Author: matthaiduk

Matt Haiduk is a criminal defense lawyer in Illinois. He loves his dog. And pizza.

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