Sex Offender Registration and Notification Policy Increases Juvenile Plea Bargains

ArticleinAnnals of Sex Research 25(2) · August 2012with10 Reads
Impact Factor: 2.21 · DOI: 10.1177/1079063212455667 · Source: PubMed

The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that South Carolina's sex offender registration and notification policy influenced juvenile sex offense case plea bargains. Two types of plea bargains were examined: initial sex offense charges amended to nonsex offense charges and amended to lower severity charges. Comparison analyses were conducted with juvenile assault and robbery offense cases. Archival data on cases involving 19,215 male youth charged with sex, assault, and/or robbery offenses between 1990 and 2004 informed analyses. Of these youth, 2,991 were charged with one or more sex offense, 16,091 were charged with one or more assault offense, and 2,036 were charged with at one or more robbery offense. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to model changes in the probabilities of plea bargain outcomes across three time intervals: before policy implementation (1990 to 1994), after initial policy implementation (1995 to 1998), and after implementation of a revised policy that included online registration requirements (1999 to 2004). Results indicate significant increases in the probability of plea bargains for sex offense cases across subsequent time periods, supporting the hypothesis that South Carolina's initial and revised registration and notification policies were associated with significant increases the likelihood of plea bargains to different types of charges and to lower severity charges. Results were either nonsignificant or of much lower magnitude for the comparison assault and robbery analyses. Suggestions for revising South Carolina and national registration and notification policies are discussed.

    • "This latter category included property offenses, violent nonsexual offenses, sexual offenses, and miscellaneous offenses (e.g., mischief) but did not include traffic offenses (e.g., speeding tickets). A reoffense was defined as an arrest rather than conviction, as sexual offenses are sometimes reduced to nonsexual offenses through plea bargains (Letourneau, Armstrong, Bandyopadhyay, & Sinha, 2013). To ensure a consistent and transparent reporting of methodology and results, this manuscript adheres to the Risk Assessment Guidelines for the Evaluation of Efficacy (RAGEE) Statement (Singh, Yang, Mulvey, & the RAGEE Group, 2015), a 50-item reporting checklist. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II) and the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth (SAVRY) include an emphasis on dynamic, or modifiable factors, there has been little research on dynamic changes on these tools. To help address this gap, we compared admission and discharge scores of 163 adolescents who attended a residential, cognitive-behavioral treatment program for sexual offending. Based on reliable change indices, one half of youth showed a reliable decrease on the J-SOAP-II Dynamic Risk Total Score and one third of youth showed a reliable decrease on the SAVRY Dynamic Risk Total Score. Contrary to expectations, decreases in risk factors and increases in protective factors did not predict reduced sexual, violent nonsexual, or any reoffending. In addition, no associations were found between scores on the Psychopathy Checklist:Youth Version and levels of change. Overall, the J-SOAP-II and the SAVRY hold promise in measuring change, but further research is needed. © The Author(s) 2015.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Annals of Sex Research
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    • "The authors interpreted this finding as evidence that prosecutors were trying to protect some youth from that state's lifetime registration and notification requirements. In the second study, Letourneau and colleagues (Letourneau, Armstrong, Bandyopadhyay, & Sinha, 2013) examined the effects of registration and notification on the likelihood that juvenile sex offense charges would be pled down to lesser, nonsex offense charges. Examining data from nearly 3,000 youth initially charged with sex offenses, they identified dramatic and significant increases in plea bargains corresponding with enactment of South Carolina's registration policy. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this policy paper we briefly review the historical predecessors of modern sex crime legislation. We then review modern policies, focusing on those that have been applied to youth who have sexually offended and for which there is at least some empirical evaluation. These include sex offender civil commitment, registration and public notification. None of the existing research validates the use of these strategies with juveniles and indeed there is growing evidence of harm. As such, we recommend that policies be revised to either exclude juveniles altogether or to mitigate the negative effects of policies when applied to juveniles.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013
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  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serious scholarly inquiry into juvenile sex offending represents a relatively new field, dating from the mid 1940s. During the next 4 decades, a mere handful of articles exploring aspects of juvenile sex offending were added to the available literature. By the 1980s, however, the literature began to increase rapidly, a trend that continues today. The purpose of this article is a focused review of the juvenile sex offender literature cited in PubMed over the last 5 years (2009-2013). The authors have chosen studies that will bring readers up to date on research they believe impacts our current understanding of best practices in the management of juvenile sex offending. For convenience, our review is organized into topical categories including research into characteristics and typologies of juvenile sex offenders, risk assessment and recidivism, assessment and treatment, the ongoing debate about mandatory registration of sex offenders as it applies to juveniles, and other thought provoking studies that do not fit neatly into the aforementioned categories. The studies included contain findings that both reinforce and challenge currently held notions about best practices concerning treatment and public policy, suggesting that our knowledge of the field continues to evolve in important ways.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Current Psychiatry Reports
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