art A: Legal Responses to Child Abuse
In 2015, CA had 379,806 total referrals for child abuse and neglect
Of those, 235, 297 reports were referred for investigation (62%)
Of the 30,317 children exiting out-of-home care in 2014 in California, 56% were reunited with their parents or primary caretakers (kidsdata.org, 2015).
Based on the above statistics, why do you think only 62% of reports were referred to investigation? What are the factors needed in order for a report to lead to an investigation?
Part B: Megan’s Law
Read the Zgoba, Jennings, & Salerno (2018) article (located in attachment ).
Based on their findings, what are your thoughts requiring convicted sex offenders to register?
Are there parts of the sex offender registration process you would change/improve? If so, what would those improvements be?
: Read the Saunders chapter located in this week’s module on the best practices on how to treat sexually victimized children then answer the following question:
Of the 19 guidelines shared in this chapter, which two of these guidelines speak to you the most? Explain why.
1. Watched the Wrestling Ghosts documentary. It is available as streaming through Kanopy:
(Links to an external site.)
2. Share your reactions to the documentary.
3. Which themes, concepts (e.g., risk factors, types of abuse, theories), etc. that we covered in this class were portrayed in this film? Provide specific examples.
4. What types of therapy did Kim use? Which of these therapies interests you the most and why?
5. What is your main take-away from this documentary? What areas addressed can be applied to your own life
Watch the short clip on
sex offender villages (Links to an external site.)
What are some strengths and limitations of this sex offender village?
Do you agree with providing villages like these for sex offenders? Why/why not?
What types of issues do you think we would need to address/work on with sex offenders?
Part B: Depo-Provera Scale
Depo-Provera is still currently being used to treat sex offenders. The purpose is to decrease their sex drive in the hopes of reducing recidivism in sex offenses. There have been some research on the effectiveness of Depo-Provera for reducing recidivism. Please review both studies: Maletzky & Field (2003) and Maletszy, Tolan, & McFarland (2006), located in this week’s module.
1. Based on their findings, can you make any conclusions about the effectiveness of Depo-Provera for treating sex offenders?
2. What are your thoughts on Depo-Provera as sex offender treatment?
CJBXXX10.1177/0093854818771409Criminal Justice and BehaviorZgoba et al. / MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law Evaluation
MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law 20 Years Later
An Empirical Analysis and Policy Review
Kristen M. Zgoba
University of Central Florida
Wesley G. Jennings
Texas State University
Laura M. Salerno
State of New Jersey Department of Corrections
This present study examines the sexual and general recidivism rates of 547 convicted sex offenders released before and after
the enactment of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law in New Jersey. Presenting the longest MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law evaluation, participants were followed
for an average of 15 years after release (range = 10-29 years). Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression equations were
estimated to identify covariates significantly associated with both sexual and general recidivism. Group-based trajectories of
general recidivism within the 10 years postÃ¢â‚¬â€œprison release were also estimated and compared according to preÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law
and postÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law release status. No differences in recidivism rates were noted between the cohorts, but differences
emerged in the offending trajectories of the high-risk group of offenders within 10 years of release. These results highlight
the lack of impact that sex offender registration and notification (SORN) laws have on sexual and general reoffending rates
sex offenders; sexual recidivism; general recidivism; sex offender registration and notification; MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law
n July 1994, 7-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by a twice-convicted sex
offender. Although local law enforcement was aware of the perpetratorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s criminal history and address, the victimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s family was not. The familyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s outrage over this lack of knowledge resonated with the American public and became a rallying cry for the adoption of
community notification of sex offender residence. In October 1994, just 3 months after the
crime, MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law was passed in New Jersey. New JerseyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law required that
information on sex offender registrants (specifically those registrants deemed most likely
to reoffend) be disseminated to members of the surrounding community (Logan, 2009).
President Clinton signed the federal version of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law in 1996 as an amendment to
AuthorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Note: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kristen M. Zgoba,
Department of Criminal Justice, College of Health and Public Affairs, University of Central Florida, 12805
Pegasus Drive, Orlando, FL 32816; e-mail: Kristen.firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR, 2018, Vol. 45, No. 7, July 2018, 1028Ã‚ÂÃ¢â‚¬â€œ1046.
Ã‚Â© 2018 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology
Zgoba et al. / MEGANÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S LAW EVALUATION
the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration
Act of 1994.
The year 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of the federal version of
MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law. In the last two decades, states and the federal government have continued to
revise and advance sex offender legislation with similar goals of registering sex offenders
with local law enforcement and notifying communities of their presence in neighborhoods.
Collectively, the laws are known as sex offender registration and notification (SORN) legislation. Research exploring the effectiveness of SORN laws to specifically decrease recidivism in convicted sex offenders supervised under the legislation, or general sexual crimes
rates overall, has typically found little to no deterrent effect (e.g., Sandler, Freeman, & Socia,
2008; Schram & Milloy, 1995; Vasquez, Maddan, & Walker, 2008; Zgoba, Veysey, &
Dalessandro, 2010; Zgoba, Witt, Dalessandro, & Veysey, 2008), with only a few studies finding evidence of a decrease in sexual offending (Duwe & Donnay, 2008; Freeman, 2012).
The present research examines the recidivism rates of sex offenders released before and
after the enactment of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law in New Jersey. It may be considered a continuation of
the Zgoba et al. (2010) study due to the utilization of the same sample, or a replication of
Jennings, Zgoba, and Tewksbury (2012) and Tewksbury and Jennings (2010) due to the
effort of replication of the findings and the standardization of the length of follow-up.
Unlike Zgoba and colleagues (2010), Jennings and colleagues (2012), or Tewksbury and
Jennings (2010), which had follow-up periods of 6, 8, and 5 years, respectively, the current
study examines sexual-specific and general reoffending in offenders for an average of 15
years after release. This exploration of recidivism rates utilizing a lengthier follow-up
period provides a valuable glimpse into the long-term effects of SORN legislation.
History of SORN Legislation
Sex offender registration refers to the statutory requirement that released sex offenders
register their personal information with local law enforcement authorities, whereas notification refers to the process by which the public is informed of such personal information. The
goals of sex offender registration were to facilitate police apprehension of sexual recidivists
and deter future repeat offending as registrants would be aware that they were under police
and public scrutiny at all times. In comparison, the goal of notification was to improve communitiesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ abilities to protect themselves and their children from identified sex offenders,
whether by altering their own behavior or informing the police about suspicious behavior
by registrants (Ragusa-Salerno & Zgoba, 2012).
Washington State gained national attention for being the first state to legally mandate
community registration guidelines for convicted sex offenders in 1991 (via the Community
Protection Act), following highly publicized sexual crimes by repeat offenders. In 1994, sex
offender registration was extended to all 50 states after the Wetterling Act was enacted into
federal law as Title XVII of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The
Wetterling Act required all states to establish a sex offender registry by the end of 1997, or
risk losing federal criminal justice funding.
Megan KankaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s murder in New Jersey occurred a few months prior to the enactment of
the Wetterling Act in September 1994, and has been described as a contributing factor for
the inclusion of the community notification component of the Act (Logan, 2009). On
October 31, 1994, the New Jersey Legislature voted into law the Registration and Community
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Notification Law, more commonly known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s LawÃ¢â‚¬Â throughout the state. In the
summer of 1995, the New Jersey Attorney General appointed a committee to develop an
instrument that would allow county prosecutors to assess sex offender risk in a uniform
manner and the Registrant Risk Assessment Scale (RRAS) was developed (Lanterman,
Boyle, & Ragusa-Salerno, 2014; Witt, DelRusso, Oppenheim, & Ferguson, 1996). The
score from the RRAS places an offender into a designated risk tier (i.e., low [Tier 1], moderate [Tier 2], or high [Tier 3]), which guides the level of community notification. In 2001, a
law was enacted that created the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry, whereby the
risk tiers produced by the RRAS were used to determine which offenders were included in
the Internet Registry. The law has remained unchanged in New Jersey since these initial
stages (Lanterman et al., 2014).
In 1996, a federal version of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law was enacted into law as an amendment to the
Wetterling Act; specifically, MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law extended the reach of the Wetterling ActÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s guidelines of community notification by revising the expectation of registrant nondisclosure to a
new requirement of disclosure to the public (Kabat, 1998). This disclosure was obtained via
notification through an online sex offender registry or through in-person notifications by local
law enforcement. The information disseminated to the public via notification was the same
information provided to law enforcement agencies when the sex offender registered upon
release from a correctional facility (Terry & Ackerman, 2009). At the inception of the federal
MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law, states adopted provisions to notify the public only about those sex offenders
who were deemed to be of highest risk. As states began adopting their own guidelines for
notification over the years however, the notification provisions evolved (Vasquez et al., 2008),
producing various procedures for the tiering of sex offenders (i.e., using actuarial risk scores)
or implementing broad notification procedures without a distinction between high and low
risk (Chajewski & Mercado, 2009; Levenson, DÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Amora, & Hern, 2007; Zgoba et al., 2016).
The disparities in registration and notification procedures between states, and the belief
that some sex offenders were being Ã¢â‚¬Å“lostÃ¢â‚¬Â in the system as a result (see Logan, 2009, for a
more thorough discussion), were eventually noted by federal legislators, and in 2006,
Congress enacted the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (herein, Adam Walsh
Act). The Adam Walsh Act seeks to standardize SORN provisions so as to create a widespread national system for the registration of persons convicted of a sexual crime or a crime
against a child (Adam Walsh Act, 42 USC 16,901 Ã¢â‚¬Å“Declaration of PurposeÃ¢â‚¬Â). According to
the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and
Tracking (SMART), not all states have adopted the legislation, however; at the time of this
writing, only 17 states and three U.S. territories have successfully implemented the provisions set forth by the Act (Office of Justice Programs, n.d.). New Jersey, the site of the present study, has not adopted the Adam Walsh Act and has continued to abide by the original
provisions set forth in the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law legislation. As SORN provisions have
changed very little in the state in the past two decades, this makes New Jersey an exemplary
study site for a long-term examination of SORN legislation effectiveness in the reduction of
sex offender recidivism rates.
SORN Policy Evaluations
Although most researchers have studied only individual states, little evidence of SORN
impact has been found for both first-time sexual offending and reoffending in the two
Zgoba et al. / MEGANÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S LAW EVALUATION
decades since the legislation gained momentum in the mid-1990s. Schram and Milloy
(1995) published one of the first examinations of SORN legislation effectiveness, utilizing
a sample of high-risk sex offenders in Washington State who were and were not subject to
community notification under WashingtonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Community Protection Act. In comparing 3
years of recidivism data for 180 high-risk sex offenders, the researchers found that sex
offenders subject to community notification were rearrested more quickly for new sexual
offenses compared with those offenders who were not subject to notification. However,
there were no differences in the overall recidivism rates between the two groups. A similar
cohort study also found negligible results associated with SORN. Zgoba et al. (2008, 2010)
followed a sample of 550 sex offenders released from New Jersey correctional facilities
both pre- and postÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law implementation for an average period of nearly 7 years.
According to the authors, measures of recidivism (i.e., rearrest, reconviction, and reincarceration), community tenure (the amount of time spent in the community before a rearrest),
and harm reduction (i.e., decreased sexual reoffending) were not significantly different
between the cohorts. They concluded that despite wide community support for MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
Law and other SORN legislation, there is little evidence to support claims that such legislation is effective in reducing sexual reoffending.
Adkins, Huff, and Stageberg (2000) received federal funding and examined the effects of
registration in Iowa. A preregistration group of sex offenders (n = 201) and a postregistration group (n = 233) were identified for comparison purposes. The results indicated that sex
offense registration appeared to have varied effects on recidivism rates over the follow-up
period of 4.3 years. Sex-offense recidivism was low at 3% for the registry sample and 3.5%
for the preregistry sample. Of those who were convicted of sex offenses, the registry sample
had a lower volume of recidivism per person than the preregistry sample; however, the differences in recidivism were not found to be statistically significant.
Researchers Petrosino and Petrosino (1999) approached an evaluation of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law
from a slightly different angle, determining how many repeat sex crimes could have been
avoided if MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law had been enacted. They examined criminal records of sexual psychopaths (N = 136) and found that 27% of the sample had a prior conviction that met the
requirements of the Massachusetts Registry Law before their most recent sex crime
(Petrosino & Petrosino, 1999). Of the 36 offenders who would have qualified under the
registry, 12 committed a sexual offense against a stranger, leading the researchers to conclude that a small number of cases would have been prevented if the law had been in effect.
Building on the results of Zgoba et al. (2010) and utilizing a similar sample, Tewksbury,
Jennings, and Zgoba (2012) created matched samples of sex offenders released pre- and
postÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law (N = 495). The treatment group was matched to the comparison group
on a number of variables theoretically linked to recidivism including age, race, education,
family history, marriage, employment, substance use, mental health issues, sexual offense
characteristics, and criminal history. Offenders were tracked for up to 8 years postrelease
from prison and no significant differences were noted between the groups for both general
and sexual reoffending. Like prior quasi-experiment cohort analyses, time-series analyses
of sexual offending rates pre- and postÃ¢â‚¬â€œSORN enactment also find limited to no evidence
of effectiveness. Vasquez and colleagues (2008) compared rates of forcible rape in 10 states
for a minimum of 3 years prior to and following implementation of SORN laws with no
specific attention toward recidivism. One of the particular strengths of this study was the
inclusion of the multiple states and the increased ability to generalize beyond a single state.
Criminal Justice and Behavior
The authors concluded overall that SORN had no influence on the number of rapes reported
postimplementation; although several states demonstrated a nonsignificant increase in the
number of rapes, a significant reduction in rates was only found in three states studied. In a
similar manner, Sandler and colleagues (2008) explored differences in sexual offense rates
in New York State before and after the implementation of statewide SORN provisions. The
researchers collected sexual arrest counts for the years 1986 through 2006, analyzing a
sample inclusive of more than 170,000 recorded sexual offense arrests. It was noted that the
majority of sex offense arrests (i.e., 95%) were committed by first-time sex offenders. As
such, the authors concluded that SORN laws neither reduced sexual offending by first-time
offenders, nor have a meaningful impact on the recidivism of convicted rapists, child
molesters, and other sexual recidivists.
Although the majority of prior research has found the effectiveness of SORN to be futile
in reducing sexual crimes reported to law enforcement, of note are the few studies that have
found limited positive outcomes associated with SORN. For example, Duwe and Donnay
(2008) compared three groups of offenders: high-risk sex offenders released with SORN
provisions, sex offenders released prior to implementation of SORN, and sex offenders
released after SORN implementation, but not subject to community notification in
Minnesota. Although a comparison of the notification group and the prenotification group
suggested a reduction in general and nonsexual recidivism, no reduction was seen for the
comparison of the notification and nonnotification group. Furthermore, it was discovered
that the notification group had the lowest reoffending rates for all measures of recidivism.
The authors, thus, concluded that community notification reduced recidivism for those sex
offenders registered under its provisions only.
An analysis of more than 300,000 sex offenses done in 15 states found that whereas public
notification did not reduce recidivism rates, registration with law enforcement did (Prescott
& Rockoff, 2011; Zgoba & Ragbir, 2016). The authors studied how SORN effected the
occurrence of sex offenses, as well as any change in police response to the reported crimes.
They discovered that registration reduced the frequency of sex offenses because it provided
law enforcement with information on local sex offenders. Their results showed a decrease in
crime concentrated among Ã¢â‚¬Å“localÃ¢â‚¬Â victims (e.g., friends, acquaintances, neighbors), with
little evidence of a decrease in crimes against strangers (Prescott & Rockoff, 2011).
Positive results of SORNÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s effects on timing were noted by Freeman (2012) in an examination of sexual and nonsexual rearrest rates among convicted sex offenders eligible and
ineligible for community notification and supervision (i.e., parole and probation) in New
York State. Overall, offenders eligible for community notification were rearrested for nonsexual crimes 47% sooner than offenders not subject to community notification. Furthermore,
sex offenders not under supervision but subject to community notification requirements
were arrested for a nonsexual offense more quickly than probationers and parolees, regardless of notification status. Sex offenders under supervision who were also subject to notification laws were rearrested for nonsexual offenses sooner than those not subject to
notification requirements. Such findings led Freeman (2012) to conclude that notification
status, and not supervision, has an effect on sexual offender recidivism.
In sum, a review of the empirical literature examining the consequences of SORN legislation leans heavily toward the assumption that despite widespread public support and politician approval (e.g., Anderson & Sample, 2008; Edwards & Hensley, 2001; LaFond, 2005;
Phillips, 1998), SORN laws are limited in their reductive benefits. Although informative,
Zgoba et al. / MEGANÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S LAW EVALUATION
the extant literature lacks analyses that include lengthy follow-up time frames, specifically,
follow-up time periods of 10 years or more. Such analyses are needed for a number of reasons. First, it is imperative to study the effects of SORN legislation 20 years after its inception to determine the long-term effects, both intended and unintended, of the legislation.
Second, there is contradiction regarding sex offendersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ risk of recidivism postrelease.
Although some criminologists suggest that sex offenders continue to commit new offenses
for lengthy periods of time after an initial conviction, sometimes even after decades have
passed (e.g., Prentky, Lee, Knight, & Cerce, 1997), more recent research has found that the
risk of reoffending decreases after lengthy spans of time spent in the community (i.e.,
Hanson, Harris, Helmus, & Thornton, 2014). Given that SORN legislation often targets
those at highest risk of reoffense, a clearer understanding of the impact of the legislation on
recidivism rates is needed. This includes not only long-term sexual criminality but also
offenses of a general nature to determine whether there is a potential Ã¢â‚¬Å“spill-over effectÃ¢â‚¬Â of
SORN legislation on general offending rates. The present study, thus, attempts to build on
the foundation of previous literature by extending the follow-up period of analysis under the
pre-/posttest design. Specifically, the present study investigates sexual and general recidivism for an average of 15 years (range = 10-29 years) following release from a New Jersey
correctional facility before and after the stateÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s implementation of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law. Three
research questions are addressed:
Research Question 1: Did MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law contribute to a reduction in sex reoffending in those
offenders released after the lawÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s implementation?
Research Question 2: Did MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law effectuate a reduction in reoffending overall for those
offenders released after the lawÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s implementation?
Research Question 3: Do the general offending trajectories differ for the pre-/postÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law
release cohorts within 10 years of release from prison?
This study used a sample of male sex offenders released from New Jersey Department of
Corrections facilities before and after the implementation of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law in New Jersey.
Persons convicted of a sexual offense according to New Jersey law were randomly selected
for inclusion in the analysis, totaling 550 cases and spanning 11 years of release. The preimplementation group included offenders released between 1981 and 1994 and consisted of
250 cases; the postimplementation group included offenders released between 1995 and
2000 and consisted of 300 cases. After a review of missing data, three cases were dropped
for incomplete information, yielding a final sample of 547 participants.
For each of the 547 cases, extensive demographic, clinical, institutional, criminal history,
and crime offense information was collected from each of the participantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s folders. These
data provide an opportunity to contrast multiple outcomes (i.e., general recidivism, sexualspecific recidivism, and time to failure before a first reoffense) of offenders convicted and
released prior to the passing of MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law with offenders convicted and released after the
legislation enactment, while statistically controlling for theoretically and empirically relevant variables.
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Recidivism information was attached to each case using New Jersey Computerized
Criminal History reports, which are maintained by the New Jersey State Police. These
reports track individual-level arrests that occur within the state of New Jersey. Individuallevel arrests that occurred outside of the state of New Jersey (inclusive of all 50 states and
U.S. territories) were also reviewed by researchers utilizing Interstate Identification Index
reports. Criminal histories were reviewed for new offenses until year-end 2010. The average length of follow-up for tracking recidivism postÃ¢â‚¬â€œprison release was 15.43 years, with a
follow-up length ranging from 10 to 29 years.
Sexual recidivism was defined as any arrest that was the result of a sexually related incident. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:47-1, a participant convicted of any of the following offenses,
or an attempt to commit any of the following offenses, was recorded as having a sexual
reoffending event: aggravated sexual assault (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2[a]), sexual assault (N.J.S.A.
2C:14-2[b], (c)), aggravated criminal sexual contact (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3), kidnapping
(N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1[c](2)), endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct
(N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4[a]), or endangering the welfare of a child by recording the child in a
sexual act (N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4[b](4)). Crimes may also be considered a sexually related incident if the intent was sexual in nature (e.g., kidnapping for the purposes of sexual assault).
General recidivism was defined as an arrest for any type of offense (i.e., an offense of
either a sexual or nonsexual nature). These may include violent crimes (e.g., assault, robbery, homicide), property crimes (e.g., arson, theft), drug offenses, or a sexual offense (as
The analysis proceeds in a number of stages. In the first stage, summary descriptive statistics are reported for the sample. Next, a series of bivariate logistic regression equations
are estimated to identify covariates that are significantly associated with sexual recidivism
and general recidivism, respectively. In the third stage, the covariates that were identified as
being significantly associated with either or both types of recidivism (along with pre- or
postÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law release status) are entered into multivariate logistic regression equations
to determine their independent effects on sexual and general recidivism, controlling for
other relevant covariates.
Finally, in an effort to replicate prior research and standardize the length of follow-up
(Jennings et al., 2012; Tewksbury & Jennings, 2010; Tewksbury et al., 2012), group-based
trajectories of general recidivism for the 10 years postÃ¢â‚¬â€œprison release are estimated; the
number, shape, and percentages/proportions of participants classified into the identified
trajectory groups are compared according to preÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law and postÃ¢â‚¬â€œMeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law
release status.1 More specifically, relying on widely known and commonly accepted modeling strategies in the criminological literature for estimating group-based trajectories (for
review, see Jennings & Reingle, 2012; Nagin, 2005, 2010), the trajectories for each cohort
are estimated via an iterative process where the associated Bayesian information criterion
(BIC) values and the group-based mean posterior probabilities of group assignment were
reviewed for the trajectory solutions of various parametric forms (constant only, linear,
quadratic, cubic) in an effort to maximize the BIC and to assess model precision. Also, due
to the apparent skewness in the frequency of recidivism over the 10 years of follow-up and
the presence of excess zeros, the zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) functional trajectory form is
utilized (Nagin, 2005, 2010).
Zgoba et al. / MEGANÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S LAW EVALUATION
Table 1 presents the summary descriptive statistics for the entire sample of study (N =
547). As can be seen, approximately half of the sample was White, 35.3% were African
American, and 14.6% were Hispanic/Latino. On average, offenders were 38.22 years old at
the time of release, and nearly two thirds were raised in a natural two-parent household.
Roughly, one in 10 reported having experienced physical abuse as a child, whereas 26.0%
reported having been sexually abused as a child. Almost half of the sample had at least a
high school diploma or a GED equivalent, and 32.4% were married at the time of their
Approximately 22.9% had a mental health problem, and slightly less than half of the
sample had drug abuse and/or alcohol problems. The majority of the sample were child
molesters, sexually victimized females, and were intrafamilial sex offenders. Almost two
out of every three participants had committed an offense (of any kind) prior to their index
offense, and 25.0% had committed a sexual offense prior to their index offense. Upon their
release from a New Jersey correctional facility, 12.6% of the sample recommitted a sexual
offense and 59.8% committed any type of recidivism, including a sexual offense. The number of recidivistic offenses ranged from zero to 30 offenses (M = 3.15 offenses, SD = 4.87
offenses). The average length of follow-up for tracking recidivism postÃ¢â‚¬â€œprison release was
15.43 years (range = 10-29 years).
The bivariate associations between the 25 covariates (including MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law release status) and sexual and general recidivism are displayed in Table 2. According to the results presented in Column 1, nine of the 25 covariates were significantly associated with sexual
recidivism. Specifically, being of African American race/ethnicity (odds ratio [OR] = 1.70,
95% confidence interval [CI] = [1.02, 2.83], p = .04), being a rapist (OR = 1.89, CI = [1.08,
3.31], p = .03), having a greater number of sexual victims (OR = 1.23, CI = [1.02, 1.48],
p = .03), having offended against stranger victims (OR = 2.68, CI = [1.51, 4.77], p < .001), and having a prior sexual offense on record (OR = 1.99, CI = [1.18, 3.40], p = .01) all significantly increased the odds that an offender had a sexual reoffense after being released from prison. In contrast, age (OR = 0.96, CI = [0.93, 0.98], p < .001), being married (OR = 0.54, CI = [0.30, 0.99], p = .04), being a child molester (OR = 0.50, CI = [0.29, 0.88], p = .02), and having sexually offended against family members (OR = 0.34, CI = [0.19, 0.60], p < .001) significantly reduced the odds that the sex offender would sexually reoffend postrelease. MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law status was not significantly associated with the odds of recidivating with a sexual offense upon release from prison. Comparatively, 15 of the 25 covariates were significantly associated with general recidivism. As reported in Column 2, being of African American race/ethnicity (OR = 3.96, CI = [2.64, 5.94], p < .001), having drug abuse problems (OR = 3.71, CI = [2.56, 5.38], p < .001), being a rapist (OR = 3.60, CI = [2.16, 6.00], p < .001), having female-only sexual victims (OR = 2.09, CI = [1.35, 3.22], p < .001), having offended against stranger victims (OR = 3.31, CI = [1.89, 5.80], p < .001), having committed a prior nonsexual offense (OR = 4.05, CI = [2.80, 5.85], p < .001), and having a longer follow-up period (OR = 1.07, CI = [1.02, 1.12], p = .01) significantly increased the odds that the sex offender would recidivate with any type of offense after being released from prison. In contrast, being White (OR = 0.38, CI = [0.27, 0.55], p < .001), having been raised in a natural two-parent household (OR = 0.61, CI = [0.42, 0.88], p = .01), having been sexually abused as a child (OR = 0.56, CI = [0.38, 0.82], p = .01), being married (OR = 0.44, CI = [0.31, 0.64], p < .001), being a 1036 Criminal Justice and Behavior Table 1: Descriptive Statistics (n = 547) Variables Race of sex offender White African American Hispanic Age (years) Natural two-parent household Physical child abuse Sexual child abuse High school diploma/GED or higher Marital status Mental health problems Drug abuse problems Alcohol abuse problems Type of sex offender Child molester Rapist Exhibitionist/voyeur Gender of sexual victim Male-only sexual victims Female-only sexual victims Male and female sexual victims Number of sexual victims Type of victim/s Family member sexual victim Stranger sexual victim Acquaintance sexual victim Significant other sexual victim Other sexual victim Prior nonsexual offense Prior sexual offense Sexual recidivist (rearrest) General recidivist (rearrest) Total number of rearrests Average length of follow-up in years Post-ML cohort M/% 50.1% 35.3% 14.6% 38.22 65.7% 9.9% 26.0% 49.9% 32.4% 22.9% 44.6% 47.0% SD Minimum Maximum Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 11.94 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 17.00 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 46.00 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 79.4% 20.3% 0.4% 16.3% 81.4% 2.4% 1.44 48.1% 16.1% 33.5% 2.0% 0.2% 63.3% 25.0% 12.6% 59.8% 3.15 15.43 49.7% Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 1.07 Ã¢â‚¬â€ 1.00 Ã¢â‚¬â€ 12.00 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 4.87 3.46 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 0.00 12.00 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬â€ 30.00 29.00 Ã¢â‚¬â€ Note. ML = MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law; GED = general equivalency diploma. child molester (OR = 0.29, CI = [0.17, 0.48], p < .001), having male-only sexual victims (OR = 0.54, CI = [0.34, 0.86], p = .01), having male and female sexual victims (OR = 0.29, CI = [0.09, 0.96], p = .04), and having sexually offended against family members (OR = 0.50, CI = [0.35, 0.71], p < .001) significantly reduced the odds that the offender recidivated with a new general offense postrelease. MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law status was not significantly associated with the odds of recidivating with a general offense upon release from prison. Table 3 provides the results from the multivariate logistic regressions2 relying on the covariates that were identified as being significantly associated with either or both types of recidivism in the bivariate analyses (along with MeganÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Law release status). As illustrated in Column 1, having a greater number of sexual victims (OR = 1.37, CI = [1.12, 1.68], p = .01) and having had a prior sexual offense (OR = 2.29, CI = [1.28, 4.09], p = .01) both Zgoba et al. / MEGANÃ¢â‚¬â„¢S LAW EVALUATION 1037 Table 2: Bivariate Logistic Regression Results Sexual recidivist Variables African American White Hispanic Age Natural two-parent household Physical child abuse Sexual child abuse High school diploma/GED or higher Marital status Mental health problems Drug abuse problems Alcohol abuse problems Child molester Rapist Male-only sexual victim Female-only sexual victim Male and female sexual victims Number of sexual victims Family member sexual victim Stranger sexual victim Acquaintance sexual victim Significant other sexual victim Prior nonsexual offense Prior sex offense Average length of follow-up Post-ML cohort OR 1.70 0.84 0.42 0.96 0.88 0.53 0.54 1.27 0.54 0.98. 0.99 1.02 0.50 1.89 1.10 0.99 0.57 1.23 0.34 2.68 1.33 1.56 1.10 1.99 1.01 0.92 General recidivist 95% CI p OR 95% CI p [1.02, 2.83] [0.51, 1.40] [0.16, 1.08] [0.93, 0.98] [0.52, 1.50] [0.18, 1.51] [0.68, 2.08] [0.76, 2.11] [0.30, 0.99] [0.90, 1.06] [0.92, 1.08] [0.99, 1.05] [0.29, 0.88] [1.08, 3.31] [0.56, 2.14] [0.51, 1.88] [0.07, 4.46] [1.02, 1.48] [0.19, 0.60] [1.51, 4.77] [0.79, 2.23] [0.33, 7.35] [0.65, 1.87] [1.18, 3.40] [0.94, 1.08] [0.56, 1.53] .04 .51 .07 Purchase answer to see full attachment