Cambridge University Press has just published a new book, edited by Professors Wayne A. Logan and J.J. Prescott, containing chapters from the nation’s leading social science researchers on the many important empirical questions surrounding sex offense registration and community notification (SORN). Since SORN’s origin in the early 1990s, basic questions have existed regarding its effects, including whether it actually achieves its intended purpose of reducing sexual offending.
SORN surely numbers among the most significant social control methods of the past several decades. Although the Supreme Court in 2003 rejected two constitutional challenges to SORN laws (Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe and Smith v. Doe), of late courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals (Does v. Snyder, 2016), have cast a more critical eye, invalidating new generation SORN laws that have become more onerous and expansive in their reach.
An updated review of caselaw from Professor Logan on SORN and other collateral consequences triggered primarily by sex offenses will be included in the forthcoming fourth edition of Love, Roberts & Logan, Collateral Consequences of Arrest & Conviction: Law Policy & Practice (West/NACDL, 4th ed. 2021). Also, as readers might be aware, the American Law Institute, as part of its overhaul of the Model Penal Code’s sex offense-related provisions, has tentatively approved a slate of reforms advocating a vastly reduced approach to registration and discontinuation of community notification. (We plan a post about the MPC’s important new model in the near future.)