We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Experiences and Attitudes of Registered Female Sex Offenders


RECENTLY CHANGES and innovations in public policies and sentencing structures have extended criminal sanctions beyond the immediate needs of offenders, victims, and society in general. One clear example of reaching beyond immediate needs and extending the form, length and consequences of sentencing is the use of community notification and registration of sex offenders. The present research identifies how such practices have created unintended and potentially serious collateral consequences for convicted sex offenders, with a special focus on female sex offenders.

Research on sex offenders has historically focused, almost exclusively, on male offenders. Studies of female sex offenders are relatively rare, at least in part because most known sex offenders are male. Females comprise only 1.2 percent of arrests for rape and 8.0 percent of arrests for all other sex offenses (U.S. Department of Justice, 2002). Women who are sex offenders are most often convicted of offenses against children (Faller, 1987; Lewis and Stanley, 2000; Rosencrans, 1997; Vandiver and Walker, 2002) or low level felonies (other than rape); because of the latter, female sex offenders are often considered "less serious" sex offenders (Hetherton, 1999).

In the criminological literature, attention to female sex offenders is rare, with the first articles appearing in the 1980s. Although recognized, female sex offending is not only often considered less serious than that of males (Hetherton, 1999), but is also acknowledged as possibly less likely to be detected or reported (Berliner and Barbieri, 1984; Johnson and Shrier, 1987).

Recently, much attention has been focused on community notification and registration of (male and female) sex offenders. To date, there are few studies of sex offender registries. The existing assessments are of four varieties: overviews and "profiles" of the population of registered sex offenders, evaluations of recidivism rates for registered sex offenders, examinations of the accuracy of information in the registries, and assessments of the experience of registration from the point of view of offenders. However, only one study to date has focused on female registered sex offenders.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (Adams, 2002) reports that a total of 386,000 convicted sex offenders were registered in 49 states1 and the District of Columbia in 2001. The use of sex offender registries has grown rapidly; the 2001 total represents a 46.2 percent increase over the registered offender population in 1998. However, statistics on the sex of registered sex offenders is not available. Individual studies have reported that females comprise 0.8 percent of registered sex offenders in Hawaii (Szymkowiak and Fraser, 2002), 3 percent of sex offenders in Iowa, 2.4 percent of registered sex offenders in Arkansas, and in the present research, 2.7 percent and 2 percent of registered sex offenders in Kentucky and Indiana respectively.

The full study is available online here: by Richard Tewksbury, Ph.D.,
Department of Justice Administration, University of Louisville

Note: Reviewing this study was interesting but there were two charts which caught my eye, they follow:

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