Sex Offender Registries Research

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Despite a lack of empirical data supporting sex offender registries and the life-altering effects they have on offenders, sex offender registries still persist today and with the public’s support. In 2001, less than ten years after the implementation of the registry, thirty-five Illinois’ policy makers were interviewed to determine their perceptions and evaluations of Illinois’ sex offender registries. Of the thirty-five only four stated they were confident that sex offender registries and notification were effective. Nearly all of the policy makers agreed “that current sex offender legislation successfully addressed the public’s demand for action” (Sample, 2001, 96). The policy makers also gave their opinions on the media and its influence …show more content…
193 people were surveyed and 58% reported that residential restrictions were an “effective strategy in reducing sexual offenses” (Levenson et al., 2007 sage pub). The majority of respondents, 83%, said they believed that community notification was an effective approach to reduce sexual offenses (Levenson et al., 2007). In 2008 a study examined 643 citizens in Washington and their perceptions of the sex offender registries and notifications. The researchers reported that 81% of respondents were familiar with the laws and that 63% of them learned of the laws due to the radio or television. Community notification made 78% of the respondents feel safer and a majority claimed they were more “vigilant of their surroundings because of community notification and felt the law was very important or somewhat important” (Lieb & Nunlist, 2008, p). Lastly, 54% of respondents claimed that notification “makes it easy for citizens to take the law into their own hands via verbal or physical harassment” (Lieb & Nunlist, 2008, 3). This last result shows that previous noted concerns about vigilantism arising due to public registries and notification laws to be …show more content…
The Wetterling Act has been amended and expanded greatly since its enactment in 1994. With Megan’s Law and The Adam Walsh Protection Act along with other amendments since 1994, sex offender registration and notification have become extremely influential laws that effect around offenders, along with every aspect of the criminal justice system. As of December 2015 there were 843,000 registered offenders (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2015). Studies have found this figure to be inflated due to registered sex offenders who are incarcerated, deported or counted on multiple state registries. So the actual number of registered sex offenders is estimated to be somewhere between 500,000 and 600,000 (Harris, Levenson, & Ackerman, 2014). These registered offenders have all served time in jail or prison or have been on probation or parole, or a

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