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Law Enforcement Perspectives on Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Effectiveness, Challenges, and Policy Priorities

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Dated: June 2016
A. J. Harris; J. S. Levenson; C. Lobanov-Rostovsky; S. M. Walfield
Date Published
June 2017
0 pages
Since relatively little is known about how the Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORN) legislation is used, perceived, and experienced by law enforcement professionals in the context of their work, this article presents findings from a mixed-method study that consisted of face-to-face interviews and a national online survey of police and sheriff agencies, so as to determine their views on SORN's general functions and efficacy, barriers to SORN effectiveness, and recommendations for SORN-related policy.
Results highlight the challenges associated with SORN's various functions as a law enforcement information tool, as an offender monitoring mechanism, and as a conduit of public information. They also indicate differences between the perspectives of agency leadership and those on the front lines of registry enforcement and management, as well as a range of concerns associated with the reliability and utility of registry information, inter-system communication, registrant homelessness and transience, and the public's capacity to understand registry information. Implications for policy reform and for SORN-related research are discussed. 62 references (Publisher abstract modified)