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

Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Limited Effects in New Jersey

April 2009:

In 1994, 7-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by Jesse Timmendequas, a sex offender who had been released after serving a maximum sentence. In response to this event and other sex crimes, community members successfully lobbied for the enactment of a law that requires sex offender registration and notification to the public that a sex offender is living and working in the community.

Since the mid-1990s, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation, collectively referred to as “Megan’s Law.” Underlying these laws is the belief that notifying the public of the presence of sex offenders in their community allows citizens to take protective measures against sex offenders who live nearby.

Researchers for the first time have conducted an independent scientific assessment of the effects of the law in New Jersey.1 They analyzed data from before and after the law was enacted. The study’s primary goal was to examine the impact of the law on the state as a whole and each county within the state. (See “Limitations of the Study” for what researchers were unable to examine.)

Researchers studying the impact of registration and notification laws in other states have found similar results.2

Findings-- Sex offense rates in New Jersey have been on a consistent downward trend since 1985. During this period, rearrests for violent crime (whether sex crimes or not) also decreased. When the researchers examined the decline in each county and then examined the state as a whole, the resulting statistical analysis showed that the greatest rate of decline for sex offending occurred prior to 1994 and the least rate of decline occurred after 1995. Hence the data show that the greatest rate of decline in sex offending occurred prior to the passage
and implementation of Megan’s Law.

-- Megan’s Law did not reduce the number of rearrests for sex offenses, nor did it have any demonstrable effect on the time between when sex offenders were released from prison and the time they were rearrested for any new offense, such as a drug, theft or sex offense.

-- The majority of sexual offenders sentenced in New Jersey are convicted of incest and child molestation. In more than half the cases, the victim and offender know each other. Megan’s Law did not have an effect on this pattern: The bulk of offenses and reoffenses committed both before and after the law remained child molestation
and incest.

-- Megan’s Law had no demonstrable effect on the number of victims involved in sexual offenses, i.e., the data show no reduction in the numbers of victims.

-- Sexual offenders convicted after Megan’s Law was passed received shorter sentences than those convicted before the law; sentences before Megan’s Law were nearly twice as long as those afterwards. However, fewer sexual offenders have been paroled since the law was passed, due largely to changes in sentencing guidelines. As a result, offenders convicted before and after Megan’s Law serve approximately
the same amount of time.

-- Estimates of the cost show that New Jersey spent $555,565 to implement the law in 1995. In 2006, the estimated cost of implementing the law was approximately $3.9 million, based on data received from 15 of New Jersey’s 21 counties.

About the New Jersey Study

Phase One: Identify Trends
In phase one of the study, researchers used a pre-post research design to determine trends in the rates of sexually based offenses reported by law enforcement agencies in the 21 counties of New Jersey — 10 years before to 10 years after the implementation of Megan’s Law. To compare trends, data on violent, nonsexual crime and drug offenses were also collected and analyzed for the same period. All data came from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. Prevalence rates for three types of offenses — sexually based offenses, nonsexually based offenses and drug offenses — were established using population estimates from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics guidelines and cross-referenced with the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, a yearly publication of the federal government.

Phase Two: Compare “Before” and “After”
In phase two, researchers used a sample of 550 sex offenders arrested and released from New Jersey Department of Correction facilities before and after the implementation of Megan’s Law to examine the differences between the two groups. Pre-post comparisons looked for differences in general reoffense arrest rates, sexual reoffense rates, harm (violent offense rates, percentage of child victims) and community

Phase Three: Estimate Costs
The final phase of the project aimed to assess costs associated with the implementation and current operation of community registration and notification activities in New Jersey. Cost assessment questionnaires were mailed to the Megan’s Law Units in the prosecutor’s offices for the 21 counties. Survey questions were classified under two general categories: start-up costs (equipment, Internet sex offender registry) and ongoing yearly implementation costs for the 2006 calendar year (staff salaries, Internet registry maintenance, equipment maintenance/supplies and office supplies). Fifteen of 21 counties completed the survey. Along with the cost assessment survey, prior New Jersey state budgets were reviewed for costs associated with the incarceration, rehabilitation and tracking of sex offenders.

For the remainder of this paper: by Kristen M. Zgoba, Ph.D., and Karen Bachar

These researchers show the reason for the state's Megan's Law: "Underlying these laws is the belief that notifying the public of the presence of sex offenders in their community allows citizens to take protective measures against sex offenders who live nearby."

It was, to know where former sex offenders lived, and nothing more.

Their research proved that recidivism did not change before or after the law, but there was better monitoring of registrants. But what does monitoring mean? KNOWING WHERE THEY LIVE! Thats not monitoring that is but a political ruse for monitoring.

No comments: