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Tracking Offenders - The Child Victim

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 1984
This bulletin compares the way the criminal justice system handles offenders who have committed crimes against children with its processing of other offenders.

Overall, the pattern for crimes against children strongly resembles that for all felony offenses. The 'funnel effect' is readily apparent: at each stage of the adjudication process, the number of offenders was reduced, with comparatively few being sentenced to prison terms exceeding 1 year. Nine of every 10 persons arrested for these crimes were prosecuted, as compared to 1 of every 2 for any felony. As is the case with all felony arrestees, the majority of those convicted were not incarcerated; rather, they were placed on probation or given suspended sentences. The race of the offender does not appear to be a factor in the probability of conviction (61 percent of white arrestees compared to 60 percent of other arrestees); however, probability of conviction if arrested did vary by sex of the offender (64 percent of male arrestees compared to 53 percent of female arrestees). Additionally, the probability of being sentenced to more than a year in prison decreased with the offender's age up to 39 before increasing for those aged 40 and older. Arrest patterns in New York, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah are analyzed, and the specific crimes included in these four major groupings are listed: kidnapping, sexual assault, other sexual offenses, and family offenses. The study methodology is described. Eight data tables are included.

Date Published: December 1, 1984