Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 18, No. 2, April 2006 (
Risk Factors for Criminal Recidivism
in Older Sexual Offenders
and Martin Grann
Published online: 22 April 2006
Sexual offenders constitute a substantial proportion of the older male prison
population. Recent research ﬁndings, with potential consequences for risk man-
agement, indicate that recidivism risk might be lower in older sexual offenders.
We followed up all adult male sexual offenders released from prison in Sweden
during 1993–1997 (N = 1,303) for criminal reconviction for an average of 8.9
years. We studied rates of repeat offending (sexual and any violent) by four age
bands (<25, 25–39, 40–54, and 55 + years), and examined whether risk factors
for recidivism remained stable across age groups. Results showed that recidivism
rates decreased signiﬁcantly in older age bands. In addition, the effect of cer-
tain risk factors varied by age band. These ﬁndings on recidivism rates in older
sexual offenders concur with studies from the United Kingdom, United States,
and Canada and may suggest some generalizability in Western settings. Further
research is needed to address underlying mechanisms.
KEY WORDS: sexual offenders; criminal recidivism; ageing; risk factor; risk assessment.
Older sexual offenders are an increasing problem for the criminal jus-
tice system. In Western countries, the numbers of older prisoners are ris-
ing faster than other age groups and around half of the male prison popula-
tion of the over 60s are sex offenders (Greenﬁeld, 1997; UK Home Ofﬁce,
2003; Uzoaba, 1998). Furthermore, the proportion that older prisoners make
of the total prison population has been increasing (Fazel & Jacoby, 2002). In
the community, increasing pressure is being placed on community treatment
programs to accommodate older sexual offenders who have completed their
prison terms and who have been given community sentences. Cross-sectional
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Centre for Violence Prevention, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of Psychiatry University of Oxford,
Warneford Hospital, Oxford OX3 7JX, United Kingdom; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
2006 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.