The Registry Report

News and Reporting on the Sex Offender Registry

Resources / Studies

The following is a growing list of white papers and research findings that can and should be cited in any effort to reform existing sexual offense laws and policies which rely upon faulty data or suppositions of grossly inflated recidivism rates among sex offenders.  Please inform us of any other resource you may be aware of, or of broken links.  Thank you!

Sex Offender as Scapegoat: The Monstrous Other Within (2016)

  • Author: John Douard, New York Law School Law Review, Jul 18, 2016
  • Link to paper in PDF format:
  • Thesis: Argues that sex offenders in the United States are scapegoats, and for that reason are subjected to social violence far in excess of the dangers they pose. The result is the creation of a class of persons who are not simply unsympathetic, but are regarded as undeserving of certain legal and moral

A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment (2016)


Recidivism Of Sex Offenders Released From Prison in 1994 (2003)

  • Authors: Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., Erica L. Schmitt and Matthew R. Durose (Statisticians, US Bureau of Justice)
  • Methodology: A Study of 9,691 sex offenders released from prisons in 15 states in 1994 and followed for 3 years.
  • Findings:  Sex Crime Re-arrest Rate: 5.3%,  Sex Crime Re-conviction Rate: 3.5%
  • Source:


Sex Offender Sentencing in Washington State: Recidivism Rates (2005)

  • Authors: Washington State Institute For Public Policy
  • Methodology:  A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and followed for 5 years.
  • Findings:  Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7%
  • Link to Report:


Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year (2009)

  • Authors: Indiana Department of Correction
  • Sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, however the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low.
  • Findings: Sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%
  • Link to Report:


Nebraska Sex Offender Recidivism Study (2013)

  • Authors:Consortium for Crime and Justice Research, University of Nebraska – Omaha,Ryan Spohn, PhD., Director
  • Methodology:  A study of sex offense recidivism. Compares the old risk-based system of classification to the new offense-based system of classification, the former risk-based system resulted in less overall recidivism. Specifically, the pre-LB 285 classification system resulted in a 2-year recidivism rate of 1.7% and a 1-year recidivism rate of 0.6%. In comparison, the post-LB 285 classification system resulted in a 2-year recidivism rate of 2.6% and a 1-year recidivism rate of 1.7%.
  • Findings: The AWA classification system consistently failed to distinguish offenders at medium risk to recidivate from those at low risk to recidivate. Our findings suggest that, as an overall tool for identifying a nuanced risk to reoffend, the old risk-based system appears more effective.
  • Complete Study:


Connecticut Recidivism Study (2012)

  • Authors: Connecticut Office of Policy and Management,Criminal Justice Policy & Planning Division (February 15, 2012)
  • Findings:  “The recidivism rates for new sex crimes, shown here for the 746 sex offenders released in 2005, are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict the conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high recidivism rates. In reality, the picture is considerably more complex. While some sex offenders certainly pose an extremely high risk for committing new offenses, this does not appear to be the case for the majority of offenders. The real challenge for public agencies is to determine the level of risk specific offenders pose to the public.”


California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Tiering Background Paper (2014)

  • Findings:  Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the lives of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety.
  • The full report is available online at


Megan’s Law: Assessing the Practical and Monetary Efficacy (2008)

  • Authors: Kristen Zgoba Ph.D. ; Philip Witt Ph.D. ; Melissa Dalessandro M.S.W. ; Bonita Veysey Ph.D., New Jersey Dept of Corrections
    Office of Policy Analysis and Planning
  • Publisher: National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America.
  • Methodology: Analysis of the impacts of sex offender community notification and registration legislation (Megan’s Law) in New Jersey focused on the law’s effect on the overall rate of sexual offending over time, the deterrent effect on reoffending, and the costs of the law’s implementation and annual expenditures.
  • Findings:  Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual re offense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses.
  • The full report is available online at.


Sex Offender Registries: Fear Without Function?  (2011)

  • Authors:  Amanda Y. Agan, The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School (Article DOI: 10.1086/658483)
  • Methodology: Study of sex offenders releaed in 1994 in 15 states to determine factors in recidivism.
  • Findings:  The data do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. Data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of non-effectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates.
  • The full report is available online at.


A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment (2011)

  • Authors:  Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming
  • Methodology:  Study of recidivism rates for 759 sex offenders released from prison in 1994
  • Findings:  Within 3 years following their prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, according to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates.
  • The full report is available at:


Sex Offender Sentencing in WA State: Recidivism Rates (2005)

  • Authors: Washington State Institute For Public Policy.
  • Methodology:  A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or placed on community supervision between 1994 and 1998 and examined for 5 years
  • Findings: The study found a sex crime recidivism rate of 2.7%.
  • Link to Report:


Implementing Evidence Based Practices (2010)

  • Authors: Frank Domurad and Mark Carey, both of The Carey Group (Editor:Madeline M. Carter, Center for Effective Public Policy)
  • Information designed to assist jurisdictions in the implementation of effective practices that will support successful offender outcomes.
  • Findings/Recommendations  Addressing six criminogenic needs has a very significant impact on recidivism (approximately a 50%
    reduction), while addressing one criminogenic need has significantly less (10+%), and importantly, focusing exclusively on non
    -criminogenic needs results in increased recidivism.
  • Download the report at:


Adult Institutions Outcome Evaluation Report (2010)


Alaska Offender Recidivism Figures (2013)


Full Report

Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview (2016)

  • Authors:  United States Sentencing Commission
  • Methodology: A study of recidivism of 25,431 federal offenders. The Commission studied offenders who were
    Report Highlights

    either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005. Nearly half (49.3%) of such offenders were rearrested within eight years for either a new crime or for some other violation of the condition of their probation or release conditions.

  • Findings:  Recidivism for rape offenders 1.9%.  Older offenders (in all categories) at sentencing are at lower risk for reoffending.  Males have higher recidivism rates than females overall in all categories. The Commission found that, consistent with existing research, two
    factors – offenders’ criminal histories and their ages at the time of release into the community – were most closely associated with differences in recidivism rates.
  • Get the full report at:
  • Get the Report Highlights at:


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