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Analysis of Sex Offense Recidivism

April 4, 2009

Empirical Analysis of Sex Offense Recidivism (PDF)

This report is a summary of a research article forthcoming in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Justice Quarterly.

Levenson, J. S., Letourneau, E., Armstrong, K., & Zgoba, K. (2009, in press). Failure to register as a Sex Offender: Is it associated with recidivism? Justice Quarterly.

In 2006, the Adam Walsh Act was passed, lengthening registration periods, requiring more frequent updating of registrant information, and expanding the number of sex offenders to whom notification requirements apply. The Adam Walsh Act (AWA) also increased penalties for sex offenders who fail to comply with registration obligations. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between failure to register as a sex offender and subsequent recidivism. We sought to determine whether, as a group, sex offenders who failed to register differed significantly from compliant registrants on relevant risk variables.

The current study indicates that sex offenders who fail to comply with registration are not more apt to reoffend sexually, but substantial resources are spent for enforcement, and, as required by the Adam Walsh Act, to incarcerate violators.

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