skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 228745 Find in a Library
Title: Sanctions for Sex Offenders: Fear and Public Policy
Journal: Journal of Offender Rehabilitation  Volume:48  Issue:7  Dated:October 2009  Pages:605-619
Author(s): Erin B. Comartin; Poco D. Kernsmith; Roger M. Kernsmith
Date Published: October 2009
Page Count: 15
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using telephone interviews that involved 703 respondents across Michigan, this study reports on public attitudes toward sex offender sanctions.
Abstract: The study found strong public support for most current policies related to sex offender punishment and community management. The strongest support was found for community notification and residency restrictions, which confirmed previous research. Although support for severe sanctions (castration and life imprisonment for those convicted of child molestation) was lower than for other types of sanctions, support for these severe sanctions was still remarkably high. Fear of sex offenders had the strongest link to support for policies. Lower educational attainment was also significantly linked to support for a punitive policy. The authors advise that research has shown that these types of punishments are intended to make the public feel safe, rather than to achieve the rehabilitation of the sex offender. Popular policies toward sex offenders managed in the community have been shown to isolate them, which leads to reoffending. Restorative justice programs that use shame as reintegrative may be more effective in reducing sex offender recidivism. The response rate for this study was 46 percent of qualifying phone numbers. In order to qualify, respondents were required to be contacted at a residence, be 18 years old or older, and speak English. Support for offender sanctions was measured with 11 survey items, each measured on a 5-point Likert-type scale. Items included a wide range of sex offender management policies, including community notification, residency and work restrictions, monitoring, castration, and life in prison. These items were selected because of their significant variance in severity. 2 tables and 42 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Fear of crime; Michigan; Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of Crime; Punishment; Sex Offender Registration; Sex offenders; Sex offenses; State laws
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.