The Labeling of Sex Offenders: The Unintended Consequences of the Best Intentioned Public Policies
The Labeling of Sex Offenders contributes to the research on the effects of sex offender registration and notification policies using the labeling perspective. The labeling perspective asserts that offenders who are labeled are more likely to re-offend; this is counter to sex offender registration policies, which assume that knowing the identity and whereabouts of sex offenders is imperative to the public's ability to protect itself. This research used criminal data from the State of Arkansas within the framework of a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the recidivism of the first three waves of sex offenders registered (1997-1999) vs. a comparison group of sex offenders from a decade earlier (1978-1989). Key variables used to explain specific and general recidivism included the application of an active label, prior exposure to formal and informal labels, the intensity of the label, race, sex, and age. The findings presented by Madden indicate that there is no statistically significant difference between the two groups of sex offenders in terms of recidivism.
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