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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

Interview with Prof. Emily Horowitz on Sex Offender Legislation

Nickie Phillips

Leon Neyfakh of Slateinterviewed Prof. Emily Horowitz, on sex offender legislation.

Prof. Horowitz is the director of the Institute for Peace and Justice and founder and director of the Post-Prison College Opportunity Program at St. Francis College.

How do the studies you read show the registry’s effectiveness, or lack thereof?

If the registry was effective, you’d want to see that, after 1996, when Megan’s Law was implemented, there was a big drop in sex offense cases. But the rates didn’t change, or they’d already started going down before Megan’s Law was implemented. Rates of sexual abuse neither increased nor decreased as a result of the registry.

Why?

Because more than 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases—some say 96 percent—involve the family. And the registry only targets stranger danger. It prohibits people from going to parks and malls—whereas most child sexual abuse takes place in the home. Also, most people on the registry have adult victims. It’s just all the rhetoric around the registry is about children.
— Prof. Emily Horowitz