Study Receives Federal Grant to Explore Recidivism Rates for Stalking

Woman Peaking Past Blinds

Dr. Matt Nobles of the College of Criminal Justice received a National Institute of Justice grant to study recidivism in stalking offenses and how it relates to similar crimes.

Dr. Matt Nobles
"Dr. Matt Nobles"
“We know very little about stalking recidivism rates in general,” said Dr. Nobles. “Most of the published studies on recidivist stalkers focus on the characteristics of offenders through clinical or forensic samples. This dearth of knowledge has implications for criminal justice policies and practices, particularly for the correctional management of stalking perpetrators and protective services for stalking victims.”

The study will use records collected from thousands of offenders in the Florida Department of Corrections from 1996-2004 and identify those with two or more stalking offenses. The stalking offenders will be compared with other offenders with similar charges, such as domestic violence, sexual assault or harassment, exploring such issues as the likelihood of reoffending, the time to reoffend and other related factors.

Stalking is a relatively new area in criminal law, with the first statutes defining this behavior adopted in the 1990s.

Eye looks through keyholeA handful of studies have been published in psychology journals about the assessments of psychiatric symptoms and personality traits of victims and offenders, but there has been no large scale research about the prevalence of repeat offenders of the crime.

By studying a large sample, Nobles hopes to develop generalizations about these offenders that may lead to practical applications in the criminal justice field. The study holds the potential to improve public safety by identifying the patterns and trends of repeat stalking offenders, providing insight for prosecuting cases, or suggesting correctional programming to address recidivism specifically.

Elevated man looking in windowAmong the issue that will be include in the study are:

  • Demographic data for repeat stalking offenders
  • Similarities and differences between stalking offenders and other inmates.
  • Trends and patterns in stalking recidivism
  • A comparison among stalking recidivists, those rearrested for other violent crimes, or those that were not rearrested

Dr. Nobles has published several peer-reviewed articles on stalking in top academic journals, including comparisons between stalking and cyberstalking, as well as other forms and aspects of interpersonal violence and victimization.

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