Effects of South Carolina's sex offender registration and notification policy on adult recidivism

Elizabeth J. Letourneau, Jill S. Levenson, Dipankar Bandyopadhyay, Debajyoti Sinha, Kevin S. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Some sex offender registration and notification (SORN) policies subject all registered sex offenders to Internet notification. The present study examined the effects of one such broad notification policy on sex crime recidivism. Secondary data were analyzed for a sample of 6,064 male offenders convicted of at least one sex crime between 1990 and 2004. Across a mean follow-up of 8.4 years, 490 (8%) offenders had new sex crime charges and 299 (5%) offenders had new sex crime convictions. Cox's relative risks and competing risks models estimated the influence of registration status on risk of sexual recidivism while controlling for time at risk. Registration status did not predict recidivism in any model. These results cast doubt on the effectiveness of broad SORN policies in preventing repeat sexual assault. Policy implications, particularly with respect to the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which requires broad notification, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-458
Number of pages24
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adult sexual offender
  • recidivism
  • registration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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