Individuals convicted of sex crimes in Tennessee are less likely to re-offend than other types of felons, a recent study reported by the Associated Press shows. For the study, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation followed 1,116 male offenders for three years after their releases in 2001, said TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm. Half the offenders had been convicted of sex crimes and the other half non-sex crimes, she said. Results showed 28 percent of the sex offenders were recommitted to the prison system, compared with 52 percent of other felons.
Helm said the study’s findings are similar to results of two previous TBI recidivism studies, one conducted in the early 1990s and a second in 1997. “It goes against normal public perspective, because people believe they are always going to re-offend,” said Tim Dempsey, chief executive officer of the nonprofit Chattanooga Endeavors, which seeks to help those released from prison move back into society. “But if you’re just looking at risk, sex offenders have always been in that lower-risk category.”