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Taking Stock of 20 Years of Sex Offender Laws and Research: An Examination of Whether Sex Offender Legislation has Helped or Hindered Our Efforts

NCJ Number
241966
Journal
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 35 Issue: 3 Dated: November 2012 Pages: 335-355
Author(s)
Laura M. Ragusa-Salerno; Kristen M. Zgoba
Date Published
November 2012
Length
21 pages
Annotation
This study examined the effectiveness of a variety of sexual offender laws passed between the two decades of 1990 and 2010.
Abstract
The present study adds to the existing empirical literature on sex offending by examining the effectiveness of a variety of sexual offender laws passed between the two decades of 1990 and 2010. This study used a sample of 1,129 sexual offenders released from New Jersey State correctional facilities during these two decades of legislative focus. Specific attention is paid to the four common themes of the legislation, including sexual offender registration and notification, civil commitment, residence restrictions, and risk designation. When each law is analyzed using its specific purpose and application process, and then compared to a sample of sex offense cases, it becomes apparent that the laws do not apply to a wide percentage of sex offense cases. The researchers conclude that the laws have little preventive capability. The implications of this finding are discussed. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.