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University of Michigan Law School

2012

Criminal Law

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Notification

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Do Sex Offender Registries Make Us Less Safe?, J. J. Prescott Jan 2012

Do Sex Offender Registries Make Us Less Safe?, J. J. Prescott

Articles

State legislatures enacted sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws with the explicit and exclusive aim of reducing sex offender recidivism. The general idea that we ought to “regulate” released offenders — of any type — to reduce the likelihood of their returning to crime is an attractive one, at least in theory. Criminal recidivism generates significant social harm. Nevertheless, despite their now-widespread use, SORN laws became the norm without any systematic study of their consequences. Admittedly, the logic underlying these laws seems at first difficult to gainsay: if a known sex offender poses even a small risk to a potential new ...