Sex Offender Recidivism

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Effectiveness of Sex Offender Registries: Do They Reduce Recidivism? Sex offenders are commonly perceived as the worst type of criminal offenders (Zimring, Piquero, & Jennings, 2007). Their heinous actions instill a sense of fear amongst their victims and society at large. Following an offender’s release, regardless of their crime, there is a high likelihood that the offender will recidivate if they are not successfully integrated back into society. Specifically, it is often assumed that sex offenders are highly likely to recidivate and that they will continue to be perpetrators of sexual offenses (Tewksbury, Jennings, & Zgoba, 2011). Nationwide, lawmakers have enacted policies that have been designed to decrease rates of sexual recidivism …show more content…
Congress then passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Act (42 U.S.C. 14071, 1994) in 1994. This act made it mandatory for sex offender registries to be established in all fifty states. “Megan’s Law” was added to the Wetterling Act in 1996, which required each state to develop community notification procedures (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010). The amendment left states to use their own discretion in terms of how they would implement broad notification. The most common type of notification method, which is used by the majority of states, is where the sex offender registry is listed on the Interview and the public is able to easily access the information (Duwe & Donnay, …show more content…
This study focused on three groups of offenders: those released prior to SORN, offenders released after the implementation of SORN, and offenders released after the modification to the state’s notification process. The notification law required sex offenders to be assigned risk levels (1, 2, or 3). Level-3 sex offenders were deemed the most severe offenders and posed a high-risk for recidivating. Broader methods of notification were implemented for these offenders. This five-year study showed that rates of sexual and violent felony recidivism were lower for the sex offenders who had been released during both community notification periods, and suggests that notification methods had been successful in reducing recidivism

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