Title

Who are the people in your neighborhood? A descriptive analysis of individuals on public sex offender registries

Publication Date

5-1-2011

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Despite growing focus on registration and notification systems as central elements of national sex offender management practice, there has been remarkably little systematic analysis of the content of these registries and the diversity of individuals contained within them. Specifically, little research attention has been paid to examining the heterogeneity of the population of registered sex offenders — a circumstance that may obscure important distinctions within the population and, in turn, may undermine the ostensible purpose of SORN to prevent sexual victimization. Addressing this significant gap in our current knowledge, this article sets forth a national profile of the registered sex offender (RSO) population, drawn from an analysis of data on 445,127 RSOs obtained from the public registries of 49 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and Guam. In contrast with the homogenized perception about registered sex offenders that permeates much public discourse, the analysis illuminates the wide diversity of registrants across a range of demographic, offense-related, registry status, and risk-oriented variables. Policy and practice implications concerning risk, prevention, and the public safety utility of sex offender registries are discussed.

Publication Title

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Volume

34

Issue

3

First Page

149

Last Page

159

DOI

10.1016/j.ijlp.2011.04.001

Version

pre-print, post-print

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