Sex Offender Registries—Giving Citizens What they Want? Crime in America.Net

This question will be used as a discussion point for a class at an eastern university. Your opinions are welcomed.

Gentlereaders: The study below suggests that sex offender registries are not associated with reduced recidivism (re-arrests or re-convictions). This is not the first study questioning the validity of sex offender registries.

But ask the average citizens as to whether or not they want access to a sex offender registry and the answer will be an inevitable “heck yes.” The problem is that we know that registries were unlikely to have an impact on recidivism when we started them.

So where does that leave the criminological and criminal justice community? Is it good public policy to spend millions of dollars on strategies that are unlikely to have an impact on crime rates or totals just because citizens want them?

Better question—do we employ other strategies that are dubious as to crime control but give the public what it wants?

The bottom line is meeting the citizen’s sense of justice. From the beginning of human history, we debated what it takes to have citizens become a daily part of creating a better society. We within the criminal justice system understand that it’s citizens and communities and not government that mostly control the day-to-day activities of crime and criminals.

Citizens and communities decide drug policy. Citizens and communities decide what’s acceptable and what’s not. Whether a person does drugs or steals of hurts another or engages in an act of domestic or sexual violence is a matter of personal choice and whether the larger community will “tolerate” his acts.

Will a man continue to slap his wife if neighbors call the police with every incident and if friends and family and neighbors aggressively intervene to protect the victim? The ultimate question is what it takes to have society control society.

We seem to be moving towards decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing its medical use. This movement is not coming from the justice system because we understand that there are millions of people that should not touch anything stronger than aspirin; they do violent and stupid things under the influence. The effort to decriminalize or legalize is coming from citizens and advocates and we hope they know what they are doing.

So we within the system recognize that its citizens and communities that really control crime and define for others what’s right and what’s wrong. To get them to make that daily investment, citizens need to have a common sense of “justice” upheld.

To uphold that sense of justice, the system provides juries, common law, incarceration, community accountability of agencies and access to information such as sex offender registries.

While we understand that the proposition is not nearly as straight-forward as we make it,  it’s true never-the-less.

Violate a community’s or country’s sense of justice and watch the consequences. It’s all part of the unspoken balance we have with authorities as to ruling or being ruled.


Study-Sex Offender Registries

The authors of this study examined the effects of South Carolina’s sex offender registration and notification policy on adult recidivism.

The current policy in South Carolina is considered broad, in that it subjects all registered sex

offenders to internet notification, regardless of the risk posed by the offender. Internet notification refers to posting sex offenders’ information in a publicly accessible online database.  

In 1994, sex offenders were required to register with law enforcement. In 1999, this registration expanded to included internet notification. In this study the authors analyzed data for a sample of 6,064 male offenders convicted of at least one sex offense between 1990 and 2004.

They used models to estimate the influence of registration status on the risk of sexual recidivism while controlling for the length of time that offenders were in the community. Their analyses revealed that registration status at the time of recidivism was not associated with reduced risk of sex crime recidivism or reduced time to detection of sex crime recidivism.

These findings were consistent whether recidivism was defined as new charges or new convictions. They found no evidence that South Carolina’s policy decreased sex offender recidivism, which was consistent with the majority of outcome studies examining sex offender registration and notification systems.

However, this study did not control for changes in the notification and other policies that occurred during the study. The study, Effects of South Carolina’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Policy on Adult Recidivism, is available in Criminal Justice Policy Review at:

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  1. M. Jeffers says:

    The church sex crimes who rape with such as the likes of Children of GOD or large networks of SEX THEFT racketeering
    is the list people need to be awareness in order to stay
    off and out of it. These large networks offer
    monies if you rape with them or for them it’s called
    a filthy form of pimping and they are so strong in many
    areas they literally are organied crime and attempt
    to rule the streets with large interracial SEX THEFTERS.

    They get your alarm code, they get to criminally follow you
    to your house or apartment of residency, they get to play
    and sit around others that RAPE THAT way –
    several judges still going at it in Houston TEXAS and BRENHAM,
    over 200 Houston BAR some with bar numbers of 30 years are REAL Activiely horring with shelter system.

    Some of these attendants are reformed cocaine, heroin
    abusers – and they always run cumlines to fund
    their habits – thus here they are convicts, former office
    co -workers and stupid family members seeking attention
    for disgusting performances below the belt as a SEX THEFT THUGG.

    Doesn’t seem to be much help with the adult probation
    department – I worked for a registered sex offender
    for almost two years (had no idea about his past) and that nasty herd let them in the building 23 stories all 23 stories including
    the basement deli kept stealing SEX with
    telephone hypnosis – a WILD WILD WILD
    hispanic sex thefting mode…..

    If that isn’t enough of their crap, try on their
    voodoo cups, hoodoo and wiccan SEX (THE CALL GIRL limousine, “I need s sex object racketeering)) cellular
    intercourses racketeering spiff with the democrats…
    they aren’t the only ones with them – however,
    most disgusting ….

    In this instance they rape over 60 year old people –
    and savor the “taking” – they act like SKINHEADS
    and entertain themselves as such….
    I’d say a very funded racketeering hormongering.

    They ousted a 25 yera VETERAN district atty
    jewish Charlie ROSENTHAL whom they said
    had the wrong connections with the sheriff’s
    department, then they told the new elect da
    to stop the sheriff department’sSECRET Cult occult,

    well…they haven’t stopped them yet…
    whose fundidng whom……

  2. “Give the people what the want?” is a great question. After all, that same question lead Germans into the holocaust. It lead America’s Founding Fathers to incorporate slavery into the constitution. It lead to low-interest, unsustainable home loans that recently helped tank our economy.

    Will we learn?

    • Hi Sam: But giving people what they want also lead to the bill of rights and the world’s longest lasting constitution. In a democracy, giving people what they want is a fundamental premise.
      Thanks for writing.

  3. nice post. thanks.

  4. To follow how these sex offender laws are spreading across this nation and the damage that they incur upon families , bookmark . We also track legal challenges and state and local bills regarding sex offender restrictions and social banishment practices.


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