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"They're functional but imperfect measures, because we're missing some stuff." Predicting a crime When a sex offender is released from prison, the county responsible for his supervision tries to determine his risk of re-offending.
Overall, recidivism rates for sex offenders are low compared with people convicted of other types of felonies, though experts urge caution with recidivism estimates because many crimes are unreported or hard to prosecute.
They argue that if offenders thumb their noses at supervision, GPS isn't going to alter their behavior.
Currently, 35 sex offenders are on GPS in Multnomah County; of those, 31 are actively monitored. Unless he was motivated to work with the PO, GPS isn't going to do anything." A study released this year of high-risk sex offenders in California found that GPS helps reduce recidivism.
The test rates each offender based on factors such as number of prior sex offenses, prior nonsexual violence and whether victims were strangers or relatives.
The test is used only for men because the number of female sex offenders is so low that data on their recidivism are considered unreliable.
During off-hours, an alert goes to an office, where operators try to contact the offender's parole officer.
Round-the-clock monitoring would be too costly, Multnomah County officials said.
But there's no staff working 24/7 to pick up the violations.But Roger Cook, a polygraph examiner based in Tualatin, studied the same test last year and found it virtually useless.Polygraph testing may actually be counterproductive, Cook said.Research into polygraph testing on sex offenders is relatively new, and the results are mixed.James Konopasek, a polygraph examiner in The Dalles, has found that those who passed a full-disclosure polygraph within a year of being released were 25 percent less likely to re-offend.