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


April 2009:

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. Since little is known about sex offender registration violators, our first goal was to describe the characteristics of a sample of sex offenders convicted of failing to register in South Carolina. Second, we sought to determine whether, as a group, sex offenders who failed to register differed significantly from compliant registrants on relevant risk variables. Third, we endeavored to identify factors predictive of failure to register (FTR). Finally, we evaluated the role of registration noncompliance in contributing to recidivism risk over time.

Results from this study do not support the supposition that sexual offenders who fail to register are more sexually dangerous than those who comply with registration requirements. Specifically, results indicated that approximately 10% of sex offenders had registry violations across an average follow-up period of about 6 years. Of those who failed to register, 11% also had a sexual recidivism charge, compared with 9% of compliant registrants. The presence of prior sexual offenses did not predict FTR, and FTR did not predict sexual recidivism. Consistent with other research, sex offenders are more likely to reoffend non-sexually than with a subsequent sex crime.

Sexual violence is a serious and complex problem requiring a comprehensive set of strategies to enhance public protection. Interventions based on research data are more likely to succeed in preventing sex crimes by targeting resources toward factors associated with reoffending. 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. We suggest that utilizing empirically derived risk assessment to identify highrisk predators, and assisting sex offenders to reintegrate successfully might contribute in more meaningful ways to public safety.

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.

No comments: