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This study examines whether the presence of state residence restrictions resulted in changes in statewide rates of forcible rape. It builds on the limited geographic coverage of prior studies by including state-level Uniform Crime Report... more
This study examines whether the presence of state residence restrictions resulted in changes in statewide rates of forcible rape. It builds on the limited geographic coverage of prior studies by including state-level Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data across 19 years for 49 states and the District of Columbia. It uses a quasiexperimental research method based on a longitudinal fixed-effects panel model design, which can help control for relatively static differences between states. Results indicate that when a state residence restriction was present, regardless of how it was measured, rates of UCR forcible rape were higher in the state than when the policy was not present. This suggests that residence restrictions, at least at the state level, are not useful as an overall crime prevention measure, but may be useful for increasing detection or reporting levels of such crimes. However, results also suggest that the size of the increase varied by whether the policy only applied to offenders with child victims or also included those with adult victims. Implications for research and policy are discussed.
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"This study examined the census tract characteristics associated with the spatial concentration of registered sex offender (RSO) residences in 1,823 census tracts across 53 counties in upstate New York. The concentration of RSOs for each... more
"This study examined the census tract characteristics associated with the spatial concentration of registered sex offender (RSO) residences in 1,823 census tracts across 53 counties in upstate New York. The concentration of RSOs for each tract was measured using excess risk scores, which essentially measures disproportionate concentrations of RSOs based on the resident population of the county and tract. The tract characteristics examined included structure characteristics from the 2010 Census, such as indicators of social disorganization, housing availability and affordability, and population density, legal characteristics describing the presence of residence restrictions, and controls for spatial autocorrelation and regional differences.
Results indicate that RSOs are disproportionately more likely to be found in tracts exhibiting high levels of concentrated disadvantage, available housing, and affordable housing, and disproportionately less likely to be found in tracts with high levels of ethnic heterogeneity. Controlling for spatial autocorrelation (lag) did not change overall results, but was significantly and positively associated with excess risk. Implications for future policy and research practices are discussed."
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The transience of registered sex offenders (RSOs) is a major impediment to reentry success, particularly since it has been linked to increased absconding and recidivism, and thus decreased community safety. Unfortunately, there is limited... more
The transience of registered sex offenders (RSOs) is a major impediment to reentry success, particularly since it has been linked to increased absconding and recidivism, and thus decreased community safety. Unfortunately, there is limited existing research on what factors most influence this transience. The purpose of this study was to identify and explore the relative influence of factors predicting transience for RSOs. Using data gathered from the Florida sex offender registry and multiple supplemental state and federal data sources, the analysis revealed a number of county- and individual-level characteristics that are associated with the likelihood of RSO transience. At the county level, these include residence restriction coverage, housing affordability, and population density. At the individual level, these include age, minority status, victim type (minor vs. adult), risk level, supervision status, and prior failure to register convictions. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
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Since 1990, we have seen a spate of laws enacted regarding sex offenders, from harsher sentences to registration and notification to civil commitment. Despite this fact, the penalties for their offenses never quite satisfy the public, who... more
Since 1990, we have seen a spate of laws enacted regarding sex offenders, from harsher sentences to registration and notification to civil commitment. Despite this fact, the penalties for their offenses never quite satisfy the public, who continue to demand that these “monsters” and “predators” be condemned even furtherundefinedforever, if possible. That is not possible, however. In fact, despite the rise in more severe sanctions for offenders, it is true that most are serving their sentences in the community at any given time. When sex offenders are serving time in the community, they are often under some form of supervision that is inadequate in achieving its aimundefinedeffective supervision. Instead of simply prosecuting these offenders and then imprisoning them, drug courts attempted to address the underlying drug addiction that compelled users to commit theft or sell drugs to support their own habit.
Research Interests:
Sex Offenders and Sex Offender Lawsedit
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Since the mid-1990s legislators have enacted a series of laws regulating convicted sex offenders who have returned to communities. Policymakers crafted these laws to appease a worried public, but they were based on assumptions about sex... more
Since the mid-1990s legislators have enacted a series of laws regulating convicted sex offenders who have returned to communities. Policymakers crafted these laws to appease a worried public, but they were based on assumptions about sex offenders’ behaviors that were not well supported by research evidence. In this paper we examine the social context within which these laws were passed and the assumptions behind the three most common sex offender laws – mandatory registration, community notification, and residence restrictions. Next we review the research that has been conducted so far to evaluate the effectiveness of these laws and their unintended consequences. We conclude with a discussion of the lessons learned from these sex offender laws for both policymaking and future research.
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Although recent research has investigated the impact registration and community notification laws have on sex offender recidivism, few studies to date have examined how these laws have impacted the criminal justice system. Specifically,... more
Although recent research has investigated the impact registration and community notification laws have on sex offender recidivism, few studies to date have examined how these laws have impacted the criminal justice system. Specifically, the enactment of registration and community notification laws may have resulted in an increase in plea bargain agreements, as prosecutors now have a tool to induce pleas, and alleged offenders may be more willing to accept the plea option to avoid becoming a registered sex offender. To test this hypothesis, 21 years of arrest and conviction data (10 years prior to the enactment of registration and 11 years post the enactment) were obtained from New York State. Results of the ARIMA analyses indicated that the enactment of registration and community notification laws did not impact rates of plea bargaining.
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First implemented in 1995 at the state level and in 2005 at the county and local level, sex offender residence restrictions have become extremely popular throughout the United States. However, only a single state-level study has examined... more
First implemented in 1995 at the state level and in 2005 at the county and local level, sex offender residence restrictions have become extremely popular throughout the United States. However, only a single state-level study has examined the types of jurisdictions most likely to implement these policies, and no research has examined their implementation at the county level. This study addresses this lack of research by examining the characteristics of counties implementing these policies in New York State over the course of 5 years using Logistic regression and linear probability models. In doing so, this study draws on the literatures relating to the implementation of crime policies and the diffusion of policy innovations. Results indicate that political competition is very influential in implementing a county residence restriction. Further, while geographic proximity to an existing residence restriction may have some influence, it appears to discourage rather than encourage the implementation of these policies in nearby counties. This finding undercuts contentions of a “domino effect” and instead supports the existence of a “polar effect,” at least at the county level. Finally, the rate of sex crimes in a county is not related to the likelihood of implementing a residence restriction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)
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Law enforcement agencies must strive to fully understand and investigate online criminals that sexually victimize children.
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This study examined whether sex offender residence restriction policies were associated with the clustering of registered sex offender (RSO) residences in 3,056 upstate New York block groups. RSO clustering was measured as the average... more
This study examined whether sex offender residence restriction policies were associated with the clustering of registered sex offender (RSO) residences in 3,056 upstate New York block groups. RSO clustering was measured as the average distance between an RSO and the five closest RSO neighbors, and was aggregated to the block group level. Controls were included for structural characteristics of block groups as well as regional differences within the study area. Results indicate that block groups with relatively newer residence restrictions had decreased RSO clustering (i.e., RSOs living farther apart from each other) compared to block groups without such policies. However, block groups that had residence restrictions for longer than about 2 years had similar RSO clustering levels to block groups without such policies. Results suggest a nonlinear relationship between how long a residence restriction is in place and RSO clustering levels. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.
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