Registerable Sex Offense Arrest Counts

This slide is from a PowerPoint presentation by Jeffrey Sandler, 2012, entitled Effectiveness of NY Sex Offender Management Policies: Are We Making Communities Safer.   It’s from a study he published. Does a Watched Pot Boil? in Psychology, Public Policy and Law, 2008, vol. 14, p. 284-302. I can’t emphasize the importance of this data. They reviewed all sex offense convictions in the State of New York for a period of 21 years (170,000 offenses, 160,000 different offenders). The blue line is arrests per year, the green line is arrests of those with a previous sex offense conviction. The vertical black line is the enactment of NY’s sex offender registry. The conclusion: 96% of all sex offenses are committed by those with no previous sex assault convictions and there was no measurable change pre and post registry in number of offenses or who was doing them.  The authors conclude “there is no evidence that registration and community notification laws affected rates of sexual offending.” Chris, you may want to use this data in your discussion with Laura Knoy.

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This chart, RSO (Registerable Sex Offense) Arrest Counts, from the presentation says it all. It depicts every sex offense arrest in New York State for 21 years (10 years before the enactment of the sex offender registration law to 11 years afterward). The vertical line separates the before and after periods. The green line at the bottom shows arrests for those who had previously been convicted of a sex offense. The chart dramatically illustrates that 96% of those arrested for sex crimes in New York State have no prior convictions for sex crimes and thus are not listed on any registry. It also dramatically illustrates that the registry has had no impact on recidivism. Contrary to popular opinion, sex offender recidivism was low before the registry and low afterwards.