Wössner, G., & Hefner, F. (2020). Criminal Recidivism after Imprisonment Among Sex Offenders and Violent Offenders : A Comparison between Self-reported and Officially Recorded Reoffending Behavior. Criminology - The Online Journal, (2), 264–282. doi:10.18716/ojs/krimoj/2020.2.10
One of the key issues in criminology is the investigation of criminal recidivism. Reoffence rates are used inter alia to examine the effects of criminal sanctions, to evaluate the effectiveness of reintegration measures, to analyse the development of crime rates, and to map criminal careers. In so doing, the study of reoffending behaviour largely depends on officially recorded criminal sanctions. Thus, the analysis of reoffence rates is, in most cases, restricted to crimes that authorities have become aware of. This paper examines the proportion of officially recorded reoffences and self-reported crimes among a sample of sex offenders and violent offenders who participated in a longitudinal study evaluating the impact of correctional treatment on criminal recidivism. In addition, it is investigated whether the discrepancy between officially recorded and self-reported criminal recidivism is influenced by individual factors such as age, impulsivity, self-esteem, and intelligence. The study is based on a sample of 140 sex and violent offenders for whom officially recorded reoffence data was collected. Data was also collected at follow-up (on average, 1.5 years after prison release) when offenders were asked to complete a self-reported delinquency questionnaire.