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Sentencing and Risk Characteristics of Latino Sexual Offenders

1 December 2009


Although Latinos account for twenty percent of the incarcerated population of the U.S., there is very little research looking at criminological and psychological characteristics of Latinos under criminal justice control. Further, many actuarial sexual recidivism risk assessments do not have normative data with minority offenders, even though they are used regularly in high stakes legal decisions. Thus, the present study examined the impact of race on sentencing outcomes as well as the Static-99 and the RRASOR, both actuarial sexual recidivism risk assessments. Using a matched sample of 36 males, 18 Latinos and 18 Whites, receiving outpatient treatment for sexual deviancy, the author compared mean sentence lengths and scores on the two measures between the groups. No statistical difference was found between White and Latino sexual offenders on either sentencing length or the risk assessment measures. Results are discussed in terms of how race impacts sexual offender sentencing and risk assessment. Limitations of the study as well as implications for forensic psychologists and ideas for future research are discussed.


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