Columbus Dispatch declares boldly, courageously, correctly

By John Futty . . . After his conviction for attempted rape in 2011, Brian L. Golsby was required to participate in a sex-offender treatment program in prison.

The specific program he entered, how he performed and whether he was seen as a high risk for re-offending, though, are all confidential under Ohio law.

Whatever treatment Golsby received, police say it didn’t stop him from the Feb. 8 abduction, rape and slaying of Reagan Tokes, a 21-year-old Ohio State University student. Golsby has been linked to the crime through DNA that was on file from his previous conviction.

Tokes’ death occurred three months after Golsby, 29, was released from prison for that 2011 attack, in which he was accused of forcing a woman to perform oral sex at knifepoint in a Grove City parking lot.

The Golsby case represents the public’s worst fears about convicted sex offenders — that they don’t respond to treatment and will strike again if released.

But those are myths, reinforced whenever such cases get extensive media coverage, said Melissa Hamilton, a law professor who has written extensively about sex offenders.

“These incredibly horrible stories occur, the media picks them up and the public reacts,” she said. “It stokes fears of sex offenders as people who are likely to re-offend. But the statistics don’t support it.”

Hamilton, a visiting criminal-law scholar at the University of Houston Law Center, said one of the most comprehensive studies on sex offenders was issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2003. It tracked more than 9,000 sex offenders released from prisons in 15 states, including Ohio, in 1994. Three years after their release, 5.3 percent of the offenders had been arrested for another sex crime.

“I wouldn’t characterize that as high-risk,” Hamilton said.

The sex offenders who were most likely to offend again were men whose victims were boys, not adults, the study found.

Two years ago, Ohio prison statistics showed that 11 percent of released sex offenders returned to prison on sex charges, compared with a recidivism rate of 28.7 percent for all inmates.

The Justice Department study made a similar finding: “Sex offenders in the study had a lower overall re-arrest rate than non-sex offenders.”

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4 comments for “Columbus Dispatch declares boldly, courageously, correctly

  1. Dave
    February 20, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Its nice to see a article like this.

  2. February 19, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    People everywhere you go they like dirty laundry. Now we have science saying that recidivism rate telling all what they should of known years ago. As far as these sex classes go or sex offender treatment programs they are no more than a course in human nature.
    Just ban sex all together and problem is solved or is it? Behavior plays a lot in the quality of people. The problem is who is an offender and who is not? If one cresses a teen does that make them a sex offender or gives them a hug? Should not one say look but don’t touch?
    And how about these opportunities that law enforcement set those up with. They really must be rocket scientist to come up with that one and use sex as the bait. I guess we can all play chicken at times and the law is ready to pluck your feathers but still who’s controlling the strings? People we all need to sound the word.
    Sure I would lock someone up for rape or punish them somehow but its the circumstances in every case and when authorities get involved one has to say dirty laundry. News at six.

  3. Lovecraft
    February 19, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Im glad this article was released in the market where the Tokes murder occurred. Its important to quell the pandering and fear mongering asap when the media runs with and sensationalizes stories like this. I was puzzled with the 11% rate ohio claims although not extremely high I would still bet the actual number was lower. Does ohio consider failure to register, presence of a minor in the home, or similar crimes, sex crimes?

    • Dolley M.
      February 22, 2017 at 9:12 am

      In this particular instance based on the article and source (prison system) the 11% rate does include those who went back to prison for failure to register and parole violations.

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