Report: Registries may increase recidivism rates

A report by University of Michigan Law School professor J.J. Prescott examines the effect sex offender registration and notification laws have of the incidence of sexual assault.

Prescott’s analysis finds that registration may reduce the number of sex offenses. However, that reduction is limited to friends and neighbors, and the increased recidivism rates due to public notification more than offset any reduction that results from registration. A couple key quotes:

“The more difficult, lonely, and unstable our laws make a registered sex offender’s life, the more likely he is to return to crime—and the less he has to lose by committing these new crimes.”  “If these laws impose significant burdens on a large share of former offenders, and if only a limited number of potential victims benefit from knowing who and where sex offenders are, then we should not be surprised to observe more recidivism under notification, with recidivism rates rising as notification expands.”

Read a summary of the report here. The full report is available here.

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