The Impact of Megan's Law

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The United States of America has always supported freedom and privacy for its citizens. More importantly, the United States values the safety of its citizens at a much higher level. Every year more laws are implemented in an attempt to deter general or specific criminal behaviors or prevent recidivism among those who have already committed crimes. One of the most heinous crimes that still occurs very often in the United States is sex offenses against children. Currently, there are over 700,000 registered sex offenders and 265,000 sex offenders who are under correctional supervision. It is estimated that approximately 3% of the offenders who are currently incarcerated will likely commit another sex-related crime upon release (Park & Lee, 2013, p. 26). There are several laws that have been in place regarding sex offenses for decades, including Megan’s Law which was enacted in 1996.

The federal Megan’s Law established three specific conditions. The first condition required information from state sex offender registries to be distributed publicly so that all community citizens have access to it. The second condition required any information collected by registration programs within the states to be released for any reason given that it is allowed under the state law. Finally, the third condition required local and state law enforcement agencies to release all applicable information from state registration programs needed for the protection of the public (Corrigan, 2006, p. 271).

While Megan’s Law has given community citizens the ability be informed of sex offenders in their areas and their demographic information, one must also consider the impact Megan’s law has on these offenders when they attempt to reen...

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...aker, J. (2007). Public perceptions about sex offenders and community protection policies. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 7(1), 1-25.

Levenson, J.S. & Cotter, L.P. (2005). The effect of Megan’s Law on sex offender reintegration. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 21(1), 49-66.

Levenson, J.S., D’Amora D.A., & Hern, A.L. (2007). Megan’s Law and its impact on community re-entry for sex offenders. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 25(1), 587-602.

Park, B. and Lee, J. (2013). The effectiveness of Megan’s Law: Does it reduce the recidivism of a released sex offender? British Journal of Arts & Social Sciences, 12(1), 25-34.

Veysey, B. M. Zgoba, K. & Dalessandro, M. (2008). A preliminary step towards evaluating the impact of Megan’s Law: A trend analysis of sexual offenses in New Jersey from 1985 to 2005. Justice Research and Policy, 10(2), 1-18.
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