Monday, August 29, 2011

Fear Without Function

Sex Offender Registries: Fear without Function?

Amanda Agan, Journal of Law and Economics, February 2011, Pages 207-239

Abstract: I use three separate data sets and designs to determine whether sex offender registries are effective. First, I use state-level panel data to determine whether sex offender registries and public access to them decrease the rate of rape and other sexual abuse. Second, I use a data set that contains information on the subsequent arrests of sex offenders released from prison in 1994 in 15 states to determine whether registries reduce the recidivism rate of offenders required to register compared with the recidivism of those who are not. Finally, I combine data on locations of crimes in Washington, D.C., with data on locations of registered sex offenders to determine whether knowing the locations of sex offenders in a region helps predict the locations of sexual abuse. The results from all three data sets do not support the hypothesis that sex offender registries are effective tools for increasing public safety.

(A-Tab has some details over at MR)

(nod to Kevin Lewis)

1 comment:

Dirty Davey said...

The purpose of sex offender registries is not to prevent future attacks. Rather, it is to increase the length and severity of punishment for offenders, and to provide deniability for anyone involved in a decision to parole an offender, or to hand down a sentence shorter than life imprisonment.

The registries are very successful at performing the functions for which they were created. "Increasing public safety" is simply not one of those functions.