Are sex offender registries reinforcing inequality?

That seems like a silly question, but Trevor Hoppe writes about his research on sex offender registries and what he calls our nation’s “war on sex.” He says there are racial disparities tied to sex offender registries.In my work on sex offender registries, I have found that black men in the U.S. were registered at rates twice […]

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Warns of Phone Scam Targeting Registrants

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office is warning of a phone scam targeting registered sex offenders.Someone is calling registrants, claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office, and then telling the registrant he/she will be arrested for a violation if the registrant does not immediately send the caller payment in the form of an iTunes or other […]

Nebraska spends more than $50 million annually for civil commitment

That total is from a Nebraska Legislative Fiscal Office memo, sent in response to a request for information on the costs to maintain the civil commitment programs at the Lincoln Regional Center and Norfolk Regional Center. The total costs amount to nearly $37 million at the LRC and more than $13.6 million in Norfolk, and […]

After Packingham, will Supreme Court take up Does v. Snyder?

After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a North Carolina law prohibiting registered sex offenders from accessing many popular social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, will the court take up a case involving other restrictions imposed by states on registered citizens? Writing for Bloomberg News, Jessica DaSilva says Arizona State University Law Professor Ira Ellman thinks […]

Report: Examining Sex Offenders Under Federal Post-Conviction Supervision

A new report backs up the low sex offender recidivism rates.The report, looking at sex offenders under federal post-conviction supervision, was written by Social Science Analyst Thomas H. Cohen and Probation Administrator Michelle Spidell, of the Federal Probation and Pre-Trial Services Office.The report found that generally those convicted of sex offenses scored lower on the […]

Briefing the Supreme Court: Promoting Science or Myth?

Must read via the Florida Action Committee:Melissa Hamilton’s forthcoming article in the Emory Law Journal is a must read. It discusses the recent Packingham SCOTUS hearing and how after all this time and all these studies, the MYTH of high recidivism rates is still being thrown around the courts.Read Melissa Hamilton’s report here.

The Unjust, Irrational, and Unconstitutional Consequences of Pedophilia Panic

Writing in the April online edition of Reason magazine, Jacob Sullom, takes on the irrationality that exists in our nation’s sex offender laws. In his wide-ranging essay, Sullom writes that public fear and disgust lead to strange and uneven outcomes in sex offenses involving minors.Under federal law…looking at child pornography can be punished as severely […]

NY Times questions "frightening and high" sex offender recidivism rates

Writing in the New York Times, Adam Liptak calls the long-standing, and discredited, popular myth of “frightening and high” sex offender recidivism rates “dubious.” That myth was used by a lawyer for North Carolina in an argument before the U.S. Supreme Court supporting that state’s law banning registered citizens from many popular social media sites.The […]

Analysis: Justices skeptical of social media restrictions for sex offenders

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Packingham v. North Carolina, a challenge to a North Carolina law that prohibits registered sex offenders from accessing social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.Amy Howe, at, writes that many of the Justices appeared skeptical of the law.Justice Elena Kagan suggested that social media […]

The transformative potential of Does v. Snyder

Writing for the Boston College Law Review, legal scholar Melissa Hamilton explains how 2016’s Does v. Snyder decision could influence judicial decisions in cases challenging sex offender registries.Abstract: In late 2016, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s concluded in Does #1–5 v. Snyder that Michigan’s sex offender registry and residency restriction law constituted an ex post […]