Juvenile Sex Offenders

JuvenileSex Offenders



JuvenileSex Offenders


JuvenileSex Offenders are classified as persons not older than 18 years whocommit any of the illegal sex behavior defined under the law in thejurisdiction in which they reside. Juvenile crimes have been on therise within the US, as has been juvenile sex offences. As early as1997, juvenile sex crimes already accounted for 20 percent of allrapes, as well as almost half of all the incidences of childmolestation (Center for Sex Offender Management, 2012). Thestatistics have significantly varied over time and from state tostate since then. The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reportedthat sex offences related arrests in 2010 were above 72,000. Forciblerape accounted for up to 21,000 arrests, while offences againstfamily and children were 111,000, a majority of which directlyinvolved children. In total offences involving sexuality and childrenwere above 200,000, a percentage of 3% of all arrests made (FederalBureau of Investigation, 2014).However, statistics indicate that less than 30% of all cases of childmolestation are reported, while 97% of these offences are conductedby a person known by the victim. In addition, more than 60% of allcases happen at the home of the offender or victim (U.S. Departmentof Justice, 2014).

Numerousefforts have been made to reduce cases of juvenile sex offences. TheJuvenile Law Centre (JLC) has advocated for responsibility whileholding juvenile offenders accountable for their offences, which mayrange from such serious crimes as rape, to mild offence such aspublic nudity, to petty offences such as public urination (JuvenileLaw Center, 2014). Children, as young as 8 years, may be required toregister as sex offenders and their profile is developed over time,in order to guide in rehabilitating them. One major issue that arisesis determining the traits most common with juvenile sex offenders, soas to predict future offences among convicted individuals, as well aspredict possible first time offenders. One research conducted in 1995attempted to profile offenders and came up with traits believed to becommon to juvenile offenders. The traits included being in the 13-17age bracket, typically male, having difficulty with impulse control,majority possessing a psychiatric disorder, more than half having ahistory of sexual abuse, and about half having history of physicalabuse (Center for Sex Offender Management, 2012).

TheJesness Inventory Scale is one such tool that can diagnose generalsocial deviation trends using 155 yes/no responses categorized invarious sociological, psychological and psychiatric areas. The JIS,however, has not been put to use in determining operational trends ofjuvenile sex offenders. This research is aimed at using the JIS todetermine whether an offender is likely to repeat the action, andwhat types of action the offender is likely to engage in.


Thetitle of the study shall be determining the efficiency of the JesnessInventory Scale in predicting repeat tendency and nature of likelyoffence in . This title is in line with themajor research objective, which is to evaluate the Jesness InventoryScale’s efficiency in the specific area of juvenile sex offences.

Backgroundof the Study

Thissection will focus on the relevant literature that will inform thecurrent study area. It will explore the area of juvenile crimes, andspecifically the history of juvenile sex offences. This will includethe definition juvenile sex offences, the provisions governing theprocedure of holding young offenders accountable for their offences,the rights and rehabilitation processes available, and the currentand future of this federal system of restitution. Of particularimportance, this section will expose the deficiency in understandingthe predisposing conditions leading to commitment of these offencesby juvenile perpetrators. Of particular importance will be thehistorical backgrounds on offenders in terms of sociological andpsychological occurrences. Therefore, this section will show thenecessity of exploring various theories related to understandingjuvenile offences.

TheJesness Inventory System (JIS) will be introduced in this section.The elements of this inventory system will be laid out, and thenecessity of this system in understanding the sociological andpsychological conditions of subjects under study. Its historicalapplications and development will be explored, as will be itspossible efficiency in studying perpetrators of sex crimes. Inparticular, its application in cases of juvenile sex offenders willbe highlighted as a research gap. This gap will therefore be filledthrough this study.

Thisstudy will focus on the sociological and psychological situationsinherent in juvenile sex offenders. It will explore the JIS as itapplies to juvenile sex offenders, using each of the 155 items ofexamination contained in the revised JIS system. The analyticalelements or questions contained in the JIS have variously beenconsidered sufficient to establish a conclusive position of aperson’s delinquency. It also measures a person’s tendencytowards autism, social disorder, their perceptions regarding self andothers, and therefore their predestination towards commitment ofcertain crimes. On the other hand, varying studies have differentlyrated the likelihood of a juvenile offender repeating the crimeinitially committed (Truman and BJS Statistician, 2012). For juvenilesex offences, finding a reliable way of predicting with dependableaccuracy the likelihood that an offender will repeat an offence, orthe nature of offence they are most likely to engage in, is animportant tool in helping to design rehabilitation methods mostappropriate to the particular individual.

Thisresearch will greatly help to reduce the rising number of juvenilesex offences, and is thus aimed at the persons involved in juvenilesex crimes, as well as the victims and possible victims, the stateofficials involved in investigation and rehabilitation of juvenilesex offenders, as well as policy designers in children matters.


Thissection will explain the research gap or the area within the researchtopic that need further study in order to create furtherunderstanding. For the purpose of this study, the problem to behandled in the research is the reduction of repeat offenders in thejuvenile sex offences research area, as well as prediction of natureof offences before they are committed. In order to realize thepurpose for the study, and to solve the research problem, this studywill use the JIS system to attempt to identify repeat offenders andto predict the nature of offences. It will be guided by severalresearch questions.

Purposeof the study


Theresearch is qualitative and will combine both primary and secondaryresearch sources. It is modeled around the predictive efficiency ofthe Jesness Inventory System of personality mapping. The intention ofthis study is explore the operational efficiency of the JIS system,and to consequently apply this knowledge in solving the researchquestions that guide this study. Once the theory has been proved towork, it will help in the development of a subset of items from theJIS that could help in dealing with cases of juvenile sex whereperpetrators will be analyzed or examined for repeat probabilitiesand proactive prevention methods applied.

Thecentral phenomenon of the study is application of JIS questioningtechniques to perpetrators of juvenile sex offences to achieve theresults stipulated in the research hypotheses. In particular, thedetermination of delinquency levels in selected subjects will be ofcentral importance to the study.


Inorder for the study to achieve its objective, it will be guided byseveral research questions. The answers to these questions willindicate whether or not the JIS system can be adopted in theprediction of repeat offenders, and the prediction of the nature ofoffence an offender is most likely to commit. The research questionsare listed below

  1. &nbspIs the Jesness Inventory Scale effective in predicting whether ornot adolescent sexual offenders will re-offend?

  2. &nbspIs the Jesness Inventory Scale effective in predicting what typeof sexual offenses juvenile offenders will commit?

Theabove form the study’s central questions. In addition, several subquestions will help to form a detailed profile of the offender, andfurther aid in easier prediction of the individuals defined in thecentral questions. The sub-questions will include

  1. What age of initial offenders is most likely to re-offend?

  2. Is a random offender more likely to repeat the same offence committed than a different offence under the juvenile sex crimes bracket?

  3. Is offender’s gender a significant determinant of the likelihood of repeat offences?

  4. Are there significantly clear historical disorders that strongly associated individuals with increased likelihood of repeat offence?

Thisstudy will be guided by the research questions listed above

Theoreticalor conceptual framework

Thisresearch is based entirely on the Jesness Inventory System. Thissystem was developed essentially to demonstrate that delinquents dodiffer significantly from each other, and that the former contentionsthat delinquents have high levels of homogeneity were to bediscredited. This theory was demonstrated through separation anddetailing of the numerous social and psychological indicators ofdelinquency as measured in subjects, and the consequent measurementof these traits. The original JIS question list was formulated in1962. The original list had 255 questions, which were later reducedto the current 155 items. This theory is based on 11 differentpersonality traits. Three of these were derived from criteriongroups, while seven were from cluster analysis (Caldwell, 2002). Thefinal result of these trait measurements is called the Asocial Index,which, broadly, measures a person’s personality traits as well astheir attitude syndrome. Determining the delinquency level of anindividual is combined score from the various question categories.Attitude syndrome and personality traits do not complete the entireanalysis of a person’s exposure to delinquency, as thesocial-environmental factors, which are not included in the twocategories above, are also important contributors to this analysis.The 11 subsections of the JIS are highlighted in the table below


No. of questions


Social maladjustment


Measures a set of attitudes that show a person’s inability to meet the demands of a social life

Value Orientation


Measures a person’s tendency to measure value in a way typical of people in lower social-economic grouping



Measures a person’s tendency to show attitudes and perceptions of self and others typical of persons of younger age



Measures a person’s tendency in thinking and perceptions that is likely to distort reality according to one’s needs and desires



Measures level of distrust and estrangement towards others, especially authority

Manifest Aggresion


Measures perceived presence of anger, frustration and emotions in a person, and the readiness with which one reacts with force to situations



Measures lack of interest with others and desire to be alone

Social anxiety


Measures emotional discomfort of associating with others



Measures level of lack of feelings and emotions normally expected, or lack of definition of such



Measures failure to acknowledge unwanted or unpleasant feelings in one’s life

Asocial index

Measures one’s likelihood to make judgments in ways socially considered unacceptable

(NCSBYFact Sheet, 2013)

Ofparticular importance is the social maladjustment measure to thisstudy, as it has a direct connection with an adolescent’slikelihood to engage in sex offences. Under the JIS provisions, aperson experiencing high levels of social maladjustment is likely toexperience negative self-contempt, feels unhappy and misunderstood,distrusts authority, passes blame to others, has unrealisticallyextreme view of parents, is sensitive to criticism and has low selfcontrol. This measure, like all others in the JIS system is measuredfrom 1-100, and is considered normal at 50, with tolerances of onestandard deviation from 50. This allows a range between 40 and 60 associally acceptable (Jesness, 2003).

Themajority of perpetrators of juvenile sex offences have establishedsocial and psychological shortcomings. Thus, the JIS structure, ifproperly used, is stipulated to have connections with the underlyingmotivations driving adolescent sex offenders (Jesness, 2003). Theprinciple held in the JIS system that delinquents havedistinguishable traits and cannot, therefore, be treated ashomogenous, can be tried using the case of adolescent sex offenders(Human Rights Watch, 2013). To demonstrate this, the theory will beput to test by testing offenders for likelihood of repeat offences.

Natureof study

Theresearch will combine existing literature on reported JIS scores ofexisting perpetrators of sex crimes. On the one hand, the researchwill use cases of repeat offenders whose JIS scores were known, totest for correlations between any scores and the tendency to repeatcrimes. Such information will be sourced from government websites andreports on crime statistics, as well as from sourced scholarlyarticles. On the other hand, the research will also source forprimary data using persons already convicted of juvenile sexoffences, and who are under rehabilitation. Sampling will be done asbest as the possible to include persons of different age, gender andoffence type. The reason why the combination of primary and secondarydata is most appropriate is because the study is working with a verylimited study population where access to respondents is difficultowing to age of respondents, the expect high cases of respondents whoare socially or psychologically affected, and the low number ofoffenders per unit population size.


Theresearch will be entirely qualitative, as the variables under testare qualitative in nature. The primary data will be source throughinterviews with the respondents in demanding cases, or just a filledup JIS examination form in cases where respondents are able toobjectively fill these up. A total of 50 respondents will be sort,but in any case a minimum of 20 will be necessary. The filled upresponse forms, or the interview reports, will be documented and therespondents allowed time as they interact with peers and other peoplein the society. Different respondents are expected to have differentratings in the JIS score table, and are expected to show varyingsymptoms in the 11 categories under JIS. After their JIS scores areobtained, the follow-up of their social interactions will show thosewho repeat offend, and the nature or offences they engage in. Thiscycle will spread over 6 months to 1 year.

Samplingmethods are limited owing to the availability of respondents, as wellas parental consent and respondent’s ability to give objectivedata. The age of range is between 9-18 years. The basic data analysistool is JIS based. Since JIS is the system under test, the natural ofanalytical processes must not deviate significantly from the JISconclusive procedures to avoid distorting the objective of the study.Most items on the JIS list are simple yes or no questions, and theanalytical process is well documented in the JIS sheets. Theseprocesses generate the T scores, define the standard deviations, andpredict the outcomes of any responses. JIS system will solely be usedto analyze the data obtained.


Thisstudy will be conducted on a population type that is limited inabsolute number of respondents and whose respondents are far spread.It may not be possible to reach enough respondents within theconvenience afforded by this study. In addition, some of therespondents maybe of very young age, be socially or psychologicallyaffected, or be under strict parental or authority restrictions, andmaybe therefore unable to give objective data. In addition, the timerequired to follow up on respondents with the aim of learning if theywill repeat offences maybe so expansive as to render the studylimited.


Thestudy is targeting persons mainly under the adult age limit. Thus,necessary caution will be taken to seek authorization to recruit therespondents. For most cases, the respondents are living underparental or guardian care. In these cases, the consent of the parentto have their youngsters partake of this study will be sort. Theobjective of the study will be emphasized, and the guarantee ofethical usage of all data so given by respondents will be ensured. Inaddition, the particular information regarding the person of allrespondents will be kept confidential and adverse mention of any ofit safeguarded. For cases where respondents are psychologically orsocially challenged, dignified treatment will be ensured, as will bethe consent of parents or guardians, and the authorization of thestate departments involved in protection of children or the statefacility in charge of rehabilitation of those under custody (Wolaket.al, 2006).

Significanceof study

Thisstudy will help reduce repeat cases of juvenile sex offences throughproactive rehabilitation, as well as to reduce the high costsinvolved in dealing with cases of juvenile sex offences. It will alsosignificantly contribute to the field as a scholarly article.


Caldwell,M. F. (2002). What we do not know about juvenile sexual reoffenserisk. ChildMaltreatment,7,291-302.

Centerfor Sex Offender Management (2012). UnderstandingJuvenile Sexual Offending Behavior: Emerging Research, TreatmentApproaches and Management Practices.Availableathttp://www.csom.org/pubs/juvbrf10.html

FederalBureau of Investigation (2014). Crimes in the United States.Available at


HumanRights Watch (2013). Raisedon the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on SexOffender Registries in the US.

Jesness,C. (2003). JesnessInventory-Revised (JI-R).Available athttp://www.psychassessments.com.au/products/58/prod58_report2.pdf

JuvenileLaw Center (2014). Juvenile Sex Offender Registration. Available athttp://www.jlc.org/current-initiatives/promoting-fairness-courts/juvenile-sex-offender-registration

NCSBYFact Sheet (2013). What Research Shows About Adolescent SexOffenders. Available at


Truman,J., BJS Statistician (2012). “National Crime Victimization Survey2010.” U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,Bureau of Justice Statistics


U.S.Department of Justice (2014). Raisingawareness about sexual abuse Facts, Myths, and Statistics.Available athttp://www.nsopw.gov/%28X%281%29S%28q5t23csb1xzdvxbbqlefjacq%29%29/en/Education/FactsMythsStatistics?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

Wolak,J., K. Mitchell, and D. Finkelhor (2006). “Online Victimization ofYouth: Five Years Later.” NationalCenter for Missing &amp Exploited Children