This resource document provides lawmakers and other interested parties, such as agency directors, court officials, and criminal justice practitioners with an overview of legislative trends in sex offender management, the intended objectives of the laws, and key research exploring the impact of these policy initiatives.
Managing Sex Offenders in the Community: A Handbook to Guide Policymakers and Practitioners through a Planning and Implementation Process
This handbook describes a planning and implementation process that is applicable to all jurisdictions, regardless of size, the resources available to manage sex offenders, the improvements you seek, or the level of expertise among those involved in the process.
The purpose of this study was to determine to what extent perceptions about sexual offenders are based on empirical evidence or misconceptions.
This Human Rights Watch report takes an in-depth look into the current sex offender laws in the US and offers a critique of such laws as well as recommendations and model programs. Issues related to juvenile offenders, residency restriction, offender registration, community notification, and internet registries are also discussed.
Public Perceptions about Sex Offenders and Community Protection Policies, Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
The purpose of this study was to examine public perceptions about sex offenders and community protection policies. Data were obtained from a sample of 193 residents in Melbourne, Florida. It was hypothesized that the public holds some inaccurate beliefs about sex offenders, and that there is strong public support for community protection policies. It was found that community members believe that sex offenders have very high recidivism rates, view sex offenders as a homogeneous group with regard to risk, and are skeptical about the benefits of sex offender treatment.
Based upon both research and practice, we offer 20 strategies that hold promise for reducing risk and promoting safe communities. Each strategy is illustrated by a case study representing one jurisdiction's efforts to thoughtfully advance practice. These policy and practice initiatives, the underlying rationale and available evidence supporting them, and the accompanying jurisdictional case studies together represent the tremendous progress that has been achieved in our nation's continued efforts to prevent further sexual victimization.
The primary goal of the study was to examine the impact of the law on New Jersey as a whole and each county within the state.
This policy and practice brief examines the differences in state laws regarding community notification and explores some innovative approaches to notification and education in place across the United States.
As part of this evaluation, the Institute contracted in 1997 with the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC) at Washington State University to conduct telephone interviews with a sample of Washington State residents regarding the community notification provisions of the Community Protection Act. In 2007, the Institute again contracted with SESRC to conduct a nearly identical survey and learn how responses may have changed.
The evidence suggests that registration reduces the frequency of sex offenses among "local" victims" (e.g., friends, acquaintances, neighbors) but not against strangers. It also presents evidence that community notification deters first-time sex offenses but increases recidivism by registered offenders by imposing social and financial costs, making non-criminal activity relatively less attractive after an initial conviction. This is consistent with previous work by criminologists and important because the stated purpose of community notification is to reduce recidivism.
Does Sex Offender Registration and Notification Reduce Crime? A Systematic Review of the Research Literature
They conducted a systematic review of all research evidence throughout the United States and located nine rigorous evaluations. Seven of these studies address whether the laws influence 'specific' deterrence and the effect of a law on the recidivism rates of convicted sex offenders. The other two studies analyze 'general' deterrence and the effect of a law on sex offense rates of the general public, as well as recidivism rates of convicted sex offenders.
Frequently Asked Questions: The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Proposed Guidelines
This fact sheet addresses frequently asked questions about the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) pertaining to the law's provisions, implementation, and relevance to sex offender registries.
This federally-funded study investigated the overall effect of Megan's Law on sexual offending over time, specific deterrence, and costs of the law. It comparatively analyzed sex offender statistics in New Jersey counties one decade before and one after Megan's Law, data on 550 sex offenders released between 1990 and 2000, and implementation and ongoing administrative costs of the law.
Community notification, known as "Megan's Law," provides the public with information about known sex offenders in an effort to assist parents and potential victims to protect themselves from dangerous predators. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of community notification on the lives of registered sex offenders. Two hundred and thirty-nine sex offenders in Connecticut and Indiana were surveyed. The negative consequences that occurred with the greatest frequency included job loss, threats and harassment, property damage, and suffering of household members.
These guidelines provide a new comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. These guidelines were issued to provide guidance and assistance to covered jurisdictions in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the principal U.S. territories, and Indian tribal governments in implementing the SORNA standards in their registration and notification programs
The authors confirm that community notification efforts protect and inform residents, thereby serving the purpose that policymakers intended, but at the cost of increased public anxiety, hindered reintegration of offenders into society, and increased labor burdens on service providers. In documenting community resident responses and expectations, Zevits and Farkas acknowledge the need to educate the public about what notification laws can and cannot accomplish.
This brief is intended to inform citizens, state and local leaders, and criminal justice professionals about the policy issues related to sex offender registration, and to describe current sex offender registration practices around the country.
Violent and sexual felony recidivism by sex offenders in Washington has decreased since passage of the 1997 statute. The causal link to notification laws is not proven by this research, but the drop in recidivism rates by sex offenders is clear, and the influence of community notification laws cannot be ruled out.
Washington State's Community Notification Law: 15 Years of Change by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (2006)
In 1990, Washington became the first state to authorize the release of information regarding sex offenders to the public. Since then, the law has been amended numerous times to expand its application, increase uniformity across counties, and increase citizen access.
Going Home: The Washington State Reentry Project Interim Report: 18-Month Recidivism Rates for Program Participants
The Institute was contracted to evaluate the effectiveness of the Department of Corrections' 'Going Home Project.' The program was designed to transition younger, high-risk, violent offenders into the community. To date, not enough time has passed to conduct an outcome evaluation with a comparison group and 36-month follow-up. This interim report outlines the research design and provides 18-month recidivism rates for program participants.
This policy and practice brief is designed to inform the efforts of correctional administrators and staff, parole boards and other releasing authorities, community supervision officials, treatment providers, and non-criminal justice partners as they work collaboratively to support the successful transition of sex offenders from prison to the community while ensuring victim and community safety.
Currently there is a significant amount of attention focused on the large number of offenders who are being released from prison to communities across the country. Leadership and support from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs have created opportunities to discuss, plan and implement new strategies to more effectively deal with offenders who are going home.
This paper discusses critical issues in the management of sex offender employment, including assessing potential job placements, approaching the job search process, making sound job placement decisions, developing relationships with employers, and monitoring sex offenders' job-related activities.
This report attempts to address these issues by providing an overview and analysis of existing treatment and reentry practices for sex offenders who are involved with the criminal justice system. It focuses, specifically, on four broad areas of practice: treatment in prison, treatment under community supervision, reentry programming, and community supervision
This resource provides a brief summary of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, P.L. 109-248 (H.R. 4472) which reformulates the federal standards for sex offender registration in state, territorial and tribal sexual offender registries. "It does so in a manner designed to make the system more uniform, more inclusive, more informative and more readily available to the public online."
Summaries of each title are followed by notes for advocates and, where appropriate, NAESV's position on particular aspects of the Act.
This fact sheet provides information about sex offender registration requirements to juvenile offenders who are adjudicated delinquent of a sex offense.
Recent trends have made community re-entry the trigger point for society's most venomous and simplistic responses toward people with a history of sexually offending. Ironically, the re-entry process also has the potential to become one of the best forums for creating the conditions for a safer community and preventing the sexual abuse of children.
The purpose of this brief is to provide an overview and discussion of emerging practices and lessons in communities across the country in the management of sex offenders under community supervision.
It is divided into five sections: (1) Developing or enhancing the use of electronic supervision tools, (2) Obtaining and maintaining needed resources, (3) Making technical decisions, (4) Supervising offenders with electronic technologies, and (5) Program Accountability.
The author points out that the risk assessment and management of sex offenders is heavily influenced by the unique social and political context in which our society views sex crimes and sex offenders.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the unintended consequences of policies that restrict where sex offenders can live.
The Impact of Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders and Correctional Management Practices: A Literature Review
The residency of convicted sex offenders released from confinement continues to be an issue of public concern. This report examines local ordinances and state statutes across the country that restrict where a sex offender may legally live, and the constitutional implications of such restrictions. The report also discusses comprehensive risk assessment tools identified by the latest research.
This report to the Minnesota Legislature discusses community placement of high-risk sex offenders. The report concludes that residential proximity to potential child victims is unrelated to recidivism risk and that imposing such restrictions unnecessarily complicates the work of corrections staff attempting to reintegrate these men into communities.
Report on Safety Issues Raised by Living Arrangements for and Location of Sex Offenders in the Community as Prepared for the Colorado State Judiciary Committees, Senate and House of Representatives
This report examines safety issues raised by sex offenders' community living arrangements, with particular focus on: (1) Do the living arrangements of sex offenders, including shared living arrangements, have an impact on community safety? (2) Do the location of sex offender residences, specifically in proximity to schools and childcare centers, have an impact on community safety? The report concludes that recidivism rates were significantly lower for men in shared living arrangements and that family and community support were important factors contributing to lowered recidivism.
Results of this analysis suggest that residential proximity had very little impact on the 224 offenses for two identified reasons. First, social or relationship proximity was found to be of greater significance. Second, where direct contact was made, offenders were unlikely to do so close to their residences.
Levenson argues that there is no evidence that sex offender residency restrictions prevent sex crimes or promote public safety. Rather, Levenson believes that such policies may actually exacerbate offenders' psychosocial stressors and thereby increase the likelihood of reoffending.
Such analysis can show whether a proposed law is feasible to enforce, and jurisdictions with a residency law already in place can use GIS data in order to assess whether the specified exclusion zones result in a lack of housing options for sex offenders.
This paper examines existing and potential constitutional challenges to various state residency laws, policy concerns and considerations of creating or expanding sex offender residency laws, and the political causes and ramifications of the residency laws and explains the need for a Supreme Court decision establishing the constitutional limit of residency laws
his article addresses the constitutional concerns and costs and benefits associated with civil commitment for sexually violent predators. In particular, it focuses on Washington's civil commitment program, the oldest such program in existence in the United States and, indeed, the only program in the nation in which the constitutional parameters of the treatment program have been fully litigated.
This paper focuses on three questions: Number of Persons Held Under SVP Laws, Number of Persons Released Under Some Form of Less Restrictive Alternative and SVP Program Costs.
This U.S. Attorney's Bulletin contains articles dealing with establishing federal jurisdiction, evidence gathering, child victim issues, and other subjects related to internet pornography and child sexual exploitation.