Research Should Influence Sex Offender Laws

Lawmakers have long treated sex offenses as different from other crimes, but the recent legislation known as Sex Offender Registration and Notification has drastically changed the way sex offenders are managed in the community upon release from prison. Specifically, these laws require the sex offenders to immediately report to the local police department upon prison release in order to register as a sex offender. This means providing information like name, address, phone number, employment, marital history, criminal history and license plate number, along with a DNA sample and a list of contacts. These registration laws also place restrictions on where sex offenders can live; for example, they are not permitted to live within a certain distance of parks, schools, day care centers, etc.

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