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Perceptions of Sex Offender Registration: Collateral Consequences and Community Experiences

Requiring people who have been convicted of sex offenses to register on a list that is publicly accessible appears to do more harm than good. This qualitative study used in-depth interviews with people who are required to register as sex offenders to understand the impact of that registry on their lives. The authors found the registry negatively impacted their employment prospects and personal relationships, and resulted in harassment and frequent feelings of stigmatization and vulnerability. The authors point out that the result of these negative collateral consequences is not to reduce recidivism, but to make it harder for people to reintegrate successfully into society, which in turn diminishes public safety.

Tewksbury, R., & Lees, M. (2006). Perceptions of sex offender registration: Collateral consequences and community experiences. Sociological Spectrum, 26(3), 309–334.

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