The Pursuit of Safety Sex Offender Policy in the United States


While high-profile sex crimes routinely grab headlines, the question of how well current sex offense laws are working rarely has been examined. This report provides an overview of sex offense policies, identifying key trends and examining what is known about the effectiveness of different approaches at meeting their aims. Following a brief history of sex offender laws and a discussion of some of the current issues in the field, the report examines six significant trends in recent sex offender legislation: stricter sentencing, enhanced registration requirements, expanded community notification, more residency restrictions, the spread of electronic monitoring, and the growth of civil commitment of convicted sex offenders.