Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Sub-Department

College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Deena Isom Scott

Abstract

Within the past two decades, a variety of specialized sex offender legislation has been implemented across the United States. Typically brought about in attempt to ebb the societal disquiet after notorious sexual assault cases are sensationalized in the media, these policies appear to be based on faulty assumptions, and lack any evidence-based foundation. In fact, empirical research suggests that policies such as sex offender registration, community notification, and residence restrictions do little to prevent sexual offending, and may actually work to increase the risk of these events through a number of collateral consequences. The current study critically examines the rationale of sex offender laws, and particularly considers the outcomes of the residence restriction that was implemented in South Carolina in 2011. Utilizing data from the South Carolina sex offender registry, I found that, at least in the current analysis, the residence restriction did not increase rates of homelessness or recidivism. I did, however, find support for a positive association between homelessness and recidivism. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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