This paper will provide statistical information in the hope to empirically determine whether reporting requirements influence the recidivating behavior of a convicted sex offender or predator. Specifically, this paper will study recidivism rates among registered sex offenders after release from incarceration or from any forms of legal punishment in two different states: 1.) State of California, which last amended registration and notification requirements in 2002; 2.) State of Alaska, which appended new reporting requirements in 2009.
The rape and murder of seven year old Megan Kanka by a two-time convicted sex offender Jesse Timmendequas in 1994 spawned the Megan’s Law in 1996. Though Megan’s Law varies from state to state, it only has one general goal anyway: to notify communities when a sex offender resides within their location and to provide them necessary information about the offender (Larson, 2003). Like Megan’s Law, Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (named after Jacob Wetterling who was murdered when he was eleven) also requires sex offenders to register. The Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act assisted the effort of creating a national database to track down sexual offenders (“Megan’s Law, registered,” n.d.). Now, the information can be accessed among states.
Though registration and notification laws do not serve as a further castigation, they were never offender-friendly. Lawmakers go to argue that the personal interests and privacy of the sex offenders are just the least of the government’s concern compared to the general safety (“Megan’s Law, registered,” n.d.). Furthermore, information withheld and disclosed is up to the good judgment of the state government (Klaas, 2008).
There are only two major ends to these laws: to deter sex offenders to re-offend and to promote public safety. Offenders