Home > Events & News > Brown Bag Schedule . Archive

PSC In The News

RSS Feed icon

Lam looks at population and development in next 15 years in UN commission keynote address

Mitchell et al. find harsh family environments may magnify disadvantage via impact on 'genetic architecture'

Frey says Arizona's political paradoxes explained in part by demography

Highlights

PSC newsletter spring 2014 issue now available

Kusunoki wins faculty seed grant award from Institute for Research on Women and Gender

2014 PAA Annual Meeting, May 1-3, Boston

USN&WR ranks Michigan among best in nation for graduate education in sociology, public health, economics

Next Brown Bag

Monday, April 21
Grant Miller: Managerial Incentives in Public Service Delivery

psc brown bag iconDo Sex Offender Registration and Notification Laws Affect Criminal Behavior?

James J. Prescott (Law School, University of Michigan), Jonah Rockoff

10-12-2009, at noon in room 6050 ISR-Thompson.

In recent decades, sex offenders have been the targets of some of the most far-reaching and novel crime legislation in the U.S. Two key innovations have been registration and notification laws which, respectively, require that convicted sex offenders provide valid contact information to law enforcement authorities, and that information on sex offenders be made public. Using detailed information on the timing and scope of changes in state law, we study how registration and notification affect the frequency of sex offenses and the incidence of offenses across victims, and we check for any change in police response to reported crimes. We find evidence that registration reduces the frequency of sex offenses by providing law enforcement with information on local sex offenders. As we predict from a simple model of criminal behavior, this decrease in crime is concentrated among “local” victims (e.g., friends, acquaintances, neighbors), while there is little evidence of a decrease in crimes against strangers. We also find evidence that community notification deters crime, but in a way unanticipated by legislators. Our results suggest that community notification deters first-time sex offenders, but may increase recidivism by registered offenders by increasing the relative attractiveness of criminal behavior. This finding is consistent with work by criminologists showing that notification may contribute to recidivism by imposing social and financial costs on registered sex offenders and, as a result, making non-criminal activity relatively less attractive. We regard this latter finding as potentially important, given that the purpose of community notification is the reduction of recidivism.


  View All