AN EXAMINATION OF THE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION AND NOTIFICATION ACT AS APPLIED TO JUVENILES: Evaluating the Ability to Predict Sexual Recidivism

Michael F. Caldwell, Mitchell H. Ziemke, Michael J. Vitacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recently enacted Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act will expand and standardize the registration of adolescent sex offenders. To evaluate the effectiveness of this and similar legislation, the authors assessed 91 juvenile males who had been adjudicated for a sexual felony offense and 174 juvenile males who had no history of sexual offending with several risk measures. On admission to treatment, all participants were assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL:YV; A. E. Forth, D. Kosson, & R. D. Hare, 2003). The Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II; R. A. Prentky & S. Righthand, 2003), 3 state-developed risk protocols (from Wisconsin, Texas, and New Jersey), and the tier designation embedded in the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006 (SORNA) were coded from the sex offender participants' records. Participants were followed for an average of 71.6 months (SD = 18.1 months) to determine charges for general, violent, and sexual offenses. Results showed inconsistencies in risk designations between the J-SOAP-II, SORNA tier, and state risk measures, and none, except for the PCL:YV, significantly predicted new general, violent, or sexual offense charges. Policy and legal implications concerning the assessment of adolescent sex offenders are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-114
Number of pages26
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

Keywords

  • Adam Walsh Act
  • Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version
  • adolescent sex offenders
  • risk assessment
  • sex offender registration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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