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Sex offender registration and notification laws: thoughts from registered sex offenders in three states

Kendra Bowen (Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, USA)
Erika Frenzel (Department of Criminology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA)
Jason D. Spraitz (Criminal Justice Program, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 11 April 2016

459

Abstract

Purpose

In the USA, sex offender policy research has focussed on demographic characteristics of registrants, recidivism rates of registrants, accuracy and completeness of listed information, and the collateral consequences experienced by registrants. This growing body of research demonstrates the need to explore offender perceptions of sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether registration related variables influenced sex offenders’ opinions about the registry, compliance with the registry, self-worth, and deterrence perceptions.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper utilized a sample of 286 male registered sex offenders (RSO) in Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Four multivariate regression models were run to examine registration related variables impact on sex offender opinions of the registry, registry compliance, feelings of self-worth, and perceptions of deterrence.

Findings

The multivariate regression results suggest registration related variables have a significant impact on RSO opinion of the registry, compliance with the registry, and opinions of self. Specifically, the number of collateral consequences that one experienced, police contacts that RSOs had, and being recognized as a sex offender were significantly related to the dependent variables in the regression models.

Originality/value

This study adds to the body of research that indicates sex offenders experience a myriad of consequences that are outside the scope of the registered sex offender laws. Policy implications and societal consequences of these findings are discussed, as well as a future research agenda.

Keywords

Citation

Bowen, K., Frenzel, E. and Spraitz, J.D. (2016), "Sex offender registration and notification laws: thoughts from registered sex offenders in three states", Safer Communities, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 94-109. https://doi.org/10.1108/SC-12-2015-0040

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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