Failure to register as a sex offender: Is it associated with recidivism?

Jill Levenson, Elizabeth Letourneau, Kevin Armstrong, Kristen Marie Zgoba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between failure to register (FTR) as a sex offender and subsequent recidivism (N = 2,970). No significant differences were found between the sexual recidivism rates of those who failed to register and compliant registrants (11% vs. 9%, respectively). There was no significant difference in the proportion of sexual recidivists and nonrecidivists with registration violations (12% vs. 10%, respectively). FTR did not predict sexual recidivism, and survival analyses revealed no significant difference in time to recidivism when comparing those who failed to register (2.9 years) with compliant registrants (2.8 years). Results fail to support the supposition that sexual offenders who fail to register are more sexually dangerous than those who comply with registration requirements. The punitive emphasis on registration enforcement may not be justified and might divert limited resources away from strategies that would better facilitate public protection from sexual violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-331
Number of pages27
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Failure to register
  • Recidivism
  • Registration
  • Sex crime policy
  • Sex offender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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