Florida State University Law Professor Wayne Logan has written a report, titled “Reforming Registries,” that looks at the evolution of Sex Offender Registration and Notification laws, and offers some suggestions for reforming the laws.
Since the 1990s, laws in U.S. jurisdictions have required that convicted sex offenders, living in communities, provide identifying information to authorities, which is then made available to community residents in the dual hope that they will undertake safety measures and that registrants will be deterred from re-offending. The laws have been and remain popular with the public and political actors alike, but have long been criticized for being predicated on empirical misunderstandings, most notably that sex offenders as a group recidivate at higher rates than other offenders and that most sexual offending involves strangers. Today, moreover, a considerable body of social science research calls into question whether registration and notification achieve their avowed public safety goals. This chapter summarizes the research undertaken to date and offers several concrete suggestions for ways in which registration and notification laws can be improved.
Read the report here.