Scientific Studies of Registration

Public registration of sex offenders was prompted by good intentions and fueled by a laudable goal. But public registration was implemented before it could be researched. In fact, there was probably no way to research public registration without implementing it. Now, public registration has been researched and there is scientific proof that public registration does not reduce sexual reoffense.

While trying to see if registration worked, researchers stumbled upon an important discovery. They discovered that registration creates new victims. These new victims are the family, friends, and loved ones of registrants. These individuals are punished having committed no crime and having gone through no due process that could legitimize their punishment.

Below you will find summaries for a few of the scientific studies of registration. The results of these studies and many more provided some of the motivation to allow certain individuals to deregister.

Schram & Miloy, 1995
registrants on supervision and
highest level of notification
Sex offenders not on registration
No difference in
recidivism over a
four year period


Adkins, Huff, and Strageber, 2000
Registered sex offenders
Unregistered sex offenders
New Offenses
3% – registered sex offender
3.5% – unregistered sex offender


Prescott & Rockoff, 2008
Compared private law enforcement
registration and public registration
Private registration plus intensive
supervision reduced victimization of
family, friends, and acquaintances
Public registration had no effect
on any kind of recidivism


Zevits, 2006
Recidivism is Higher with Public Registration
Recidivism Chart


Public Registration Increase Risk
Levinson, 2007
FloridaIndiana & Connecticut
Lost job20%10%
Landlord made move20%10%
Neighbor made move15%11%
Property Damage21%18%
Threatened or harassed33%21%
Physically assaulted or injured21%18%


Harm to Registrant’s Family and Friends
16% to 19% of those who lived with the registrant were: Harassed, Assaulted, Injured or Property Damage (Levenson & Cotter, 2005)
67% of family members – Some form of Harm (Zevits et al, 2000)
42% of family members threatened or harassed (Levenson & Tewksbury, 2009)
27% of family members experienced property damage
7% actually physically assaulted (Levenson & Tewksbury, 2009)