This report presents an overview of the current state of research on the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and assesses the issues researchers have identified as having an effect on SORNA’ effectiveness.
The research reviewed encompasses the literature that includes peer-reviewed research published in current periodicals and scholarly journals. The research focuses on criminal justice and law, but also addresses sociology and economics. Research as of June 2019 was inconclusive regarding SORN laws’ mitigating effects on sex offender recidivism. Research discussed financial costs associated with these laws and asserted that SORN laws have a low likelihood of impacting recidivism; however, all identified studies within this category contained several methodological shortcomings, including small sample sizes and attempts to draw conclusions from those limited samples in an environment where SORN laws varied across jurisdictions. State and law enforcement perspectives addressed challenges in the areas of legislative, fiscal, and enforcement.