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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 221001 Find in a Library
Title: Attitudes About Community Notification: A Comparison of Sexual Offenders and the Non-Offending Public
Journal: Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:December 2007  Pages:369-379
Author(s): Yolanda Nicole Brannon; Jill S. Levenson; Timothy Fortney; Juanita N. Baker
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 11
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared sex offenders' and the general public's perceptions of the fairness of Florida 's sex offender notification law, the necessity and effectiveness of this law, and awareness of vigilantism and other consequences of the law as reported by sex offenders.
Abstract: The study found that sex offenders viewed community notification as more unfair than did members of the general public, and sex offenders viewed the law as less effective than did the general public. There were also significant differences between sex offenders and the public in awareness of the negative consequences of the law. Specifically, sex offenders experienced more vigilantism than was known to the public. The finding suggests that community notification about the identity and location of sex offenders may fuel negative attitudes and behaviors toward sex offenders that make it more difficult for them to reintegrate into society, thus increasing their risk for reoffending. When an offender is isolated or alienated from positive social interactions and bonding, the desire and support for normative behavior is undermined. The authors suggest a more discriminating approach to notification based on empirically derived risk assessment, which will benefit the public by increasing their awareness of the most dangerous offenders while not unnecessarily creating reentry barriers for those sex offenders who are least likely to pose a threat to the public. The study included 125 adult sex offenders who were receiving outpatient treatment in Central Brevard County, FL, and 193 adult members of the nonoffending public in Melbourne, FL. The sex offenders resided throughout Brevard County and were recruited through sex offender outpatient treatment facilities. The Sex Offender and Public Questionnaires used identical questions in collecting information about perceptions of the current community notification law and its ability to prevent further sexual abuse of children. 4 tables, 1 figure, and 38 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Offender attitudes; Post-release programs; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Sex Offender Registration; Sex offenders; Vigilantism causes
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