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ACSOL Conference Oct 1, 2022 

 

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A Q&A on Megan’s Law: Should it apply to child offenders?

Dr. Elizabeth J. Letourneau did the first study looking at the consequences of Megan’s Law on juveniles. She found that kids rarely commit a second offense, and that the people they are most likely to hurt are themselves. She spoke with Julie O’Connor of the Star-Ledger’s editorial board. Below is an edited transcript. Full ArticleFull Article

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“Adults reoffend at a rate of 18 percent.”

Where did these numbers come up? Is that for rape? Is that for CP offenses? Is that for public urination?

Or is that ALL sexual crimes?

The data that comes out in these news articles about reoffending are all over the place.

There needs to be accountability for accurate reporting.

“Sex offender notification was supposed to be a policy that reduces the likelihood of child sexual abuse. But it is associated with an increased likelihood of child sexual abuse. You couldn’t have a worse outcome.”

Totally agree.

“There are only two ways that registry policies could have a positive effect on public safety – by reducing recidivism or reducing first-time sex crimes. They do not do either, based on data from thousands of cases in half a dozen states.”

Totally agree!

“Adults reoffend at a rate of about 18%”

Really? I would like to know what study that came from.

Elizabeth J. Letourneau, PhD is a co-author on numerous studies on juvenile sex offence, sex offence recidivism and the effects of the registration on recidivism rates. I wonder if it was her, or the Star ‘s editing that caused the 18% recidivism figure. Her study below cites 5%

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0887403409353148
“Across a mean follow-up of 8.4 years, 490 (8%) offenders had new sex crime charges and 299 (5%) offenders had new sex crime convictions

Her article : Once a Sexual Offender, Not Always a Sexual Offender below said “This effect was found for all age groups and all initial risk levels”.
https://jhu.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/reductions-in-risk-based-on-time-offense-free-in-the-community-on

To champion a cause is one thing. To use false info to champion a cause (especially if it is for $ or personal gain) is at best questionable. While both RK Hanson and Letourneau have helped our cause, they both make a fine living at it. Could you imagine if Hanson made a commission for every time the static 99 or 99-R was implemented?

@Will Allen

It depends on how the low recidivism data is framed or narrated that will determine if the Registry is working or not.

For example, when you juxtapose the amount of sexual assaults on children by people NOT on the Registry with the low recidivism rate of Registrants then the NARRATIVE shows that the Registry doesn’t work.

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