Sex offender registries, though popular, bring with them enormous fiscal costs and unintended consequences for offenders and communities. Consistent with the Grand Challenges, social workers can play a role in advocating for sex offender management policies that are better informed by evidence and thus a better use of resources.
Registry reform would also mediate the stigma resulting from the sex offender label, and reduce barriers to offender reintegration. A brief history of registration laws and the research regarding their effectiveness will be provided, followed by a rationale for needed improvements in sex offender management policy. Five evidence-based recommendations for reform will be proposed:
(1) juveniles should not be subjected to sex offender registration;..Source.. by Levenson, Grady and Leibowitz
(2) registration durations should be guided by risk assessment research;
(3) procedures for relief and removal from registries should be available;
(4) discretion should be returned to judges;
(5) residence restrictions should be abolished. Such changes can result in improved public safety outcomes and social justice, as well as reduced fiscal and social costs.