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Effects of South Carolina's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Policy on Adult Recidivism

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 21 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2010 Pages: 435-458
Date Published
December 2010
24 pages
This study examined the effects of South Carolina's broad sex offender registration and notification policy on the recidivism rates of adult sex offenders.
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 percent) offenders had new sex crime charges and 299 (5 percent) 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. Tables, figure, and references (Published Abstract)

Date Published: December 1, 2010