Monday, February 4, 2013

If Sex Offender Laws Don't Work, Why Are We Still Doing Them?

Time Magazine had a piece recently that looked at the effectiveness of using sex offender registries to keep offenders away from certain areas of town. The article looked at a study that questioned whether these laws actually made communities safer. The piece had a couple of conclusions that were troubling.

The first was that 65% of offenders moved at least once during the 2.5 year study period, and prior research suggests that not having stable housing increases the risk of offending or failing to register.

Second, many of these offenders resided in marginal and chaotic neighborhoods— which are often the cheapest and least restricted to offenders— and can increase recidivism in several ways. Parents are often unable to supervise children adequately due to long work hours and lack of affordable daycare, making the children more vulnerable. These areas also tend to have more crime and less economic opportunity overall, both of which can affect recidivism.

Via Time Magazine

Sex offender registries and sex offender exclusion laws are well intentioned. But like a lot of well intentioned laws, they don't always have the desired effect. If they aren't working like they were intended, and may even be contributing to recidivism of sex offenders then maybe we need to come up with something better.


  1. Scott,

    Great points made. These laws are well intentions and also are difficult to decipher for law enforcement.
    My former agency initiated the SOAP program - Sex Offender Accountability Program for the purpose of actively monitoring offenders in our jurisdiction. The laws cocerning registering can become so complex, its difficult for all to comprehend.
    The key is to initiate them without political motivation, apply them without fail and enforce them without regret.
    These are one set of laws we cannot fail to administer.
    Thanks again,

  2. Bright Blue Line, Thanks for the comments!

  3. Hey Scott,

    Your site makes it easy to find the most current information. Thank you for the steady posts.

  4. Hey Scott,

    Appreciate you posting great information. Makes researching easy to find.



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