Mary Devoy, who wrote a Point/Counterpoint arguing for reform of Virginia’s sex offender registry March 31, sent along this Politifact link to bolster her case.
It’s about Ohio’s registry, but cites studies about the impact of registries overall. Perhaps most germane to the recent local controversy in Botetourt County is this:
Another study, by J.J. Prescott of the University of Michigan Law School and Jonah Rockoff of Columbia Business School and the National Bureau of Economic Research, examined data from 15 states over more than 10 years.
They found that registering sex offenders does reduce sex crime, especially among victims with a personal connection to offenders, most likely because of better police monitoring. They also found, however, that making the registry information available to the public has the opposite effect and increases crime.
“There is little evidence of a decrease in crimes against strangers,” the study said. “We also find evidence that community notification deters crime, but in a way unanticipated by legislators. Our results suggest that community notification deters first-time sex offenders, but may increase recidivism by registered offenders by increasing the relative attractiveness of criminal behavior. This finding is consistent with work by criminologists showing that notification may contribute to recidivism by imposing social and financial costs on registered sex offenders and, as a result, making non-criminal activity relatively less attractive.
“We regard this latter finding as potentially important, given that the purpose of community notification is the reduction of recidivism,” the authors concluded.