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Juvenile Registration and Notification Policy Effects: A Multistate Evaluation Project

NCJ Number
Elizabeth J. Letourneau; Jeffery Sandler; Donna Vandiver; Ryan Shields; Reshmi Nair
Date Published
January 2018
52 pages
This study evaluated the impact of juvenile sex offender registration and notification policies on first-time sexual offenses (general deterrence), sexual and violence recidivism offenses (specific deterrence), and juvenile case processing (case dismissals, diversions, and plea bargains).
To date, the study has addressed the impact of juvenile registration and notification policies on first-time sexual offenses in the states of Oregon, Maryland, Idaho, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia. This phase of the study (general deterrence) found that in none of the six states was juvenile sex offender registration and notification linked with a reduction in first-time sex offenses. This supports the findings of previous research. The study is continuing to pursue its additional goals concerning specific deterrence and juvenile case processing; however, at this stage of the study, a recommendation is proposed, i.e., that juvenile registration and notification policies be replaced with more effective approaches to the prevention of juvenile sexual offending. This recommendation is based on the fact that no published study has identified any community safety benefit of registration and notification for juvenile sex offenders. The general-deterrence study determined whether the rates of children being charged or adjudicated for a first-time sexual offense declined following implementation of juvenile registration and notification policies relative to pre-policy periods. In order to increase confidence that any findings would pertain specifically to registration and notification policies compared with other juvenile or criminal justice policies, the study conducted comparison analyses of physical assault and robbery charges and adjudications during the same time periods. The pattern of results across the primary and comparison analyses can aid in the interpretation of findings. 7 tables, 2 figures, and48 references