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Frey and colleagues outline 10 trends showing scale of America's demographic transitions

Starr says surveys intended to predict recidivism assign higher risk to poor

Prescott and colleagues find incidence of noncompetes in U.S. labor force varies by job, state, worker education

Highlights

PAA 2015 Annual Meeting: Preliminary program and list of UM participants

ISR addition wins LEED Gold Certification

PSC Fall 2014 Newsletter now available

Martha Bailey and Nicolas Duquette win Cole Prize for article on War on Poverty

Next Brown Bag

Mon, March 9
Luigi Pistaferri, Consumption Inequality and Family Labor Supply

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.


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