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This issue brief explains the general requirements established by the federal government for registration of sex offenders released from incarceration. Also included are the results from a 1996 Institute survey listing the number of registered sex offenders by state.
In August and September of 1996, the Institute conducted a survey of law enforcement to solicit information on community notification procedures throughout Washington State. The report describes sex offender harassment incidents and methods law enforcement use to reduce these incidents, including community meetings.
An April 1996 Institute report analyzed state statutes covering community notification; 32 states were included. This update includes eight additional states that passed legislation either authorizing community notification or allowing access to sex offender registration information. Arizona’s community notification law also was amended, therefore it is also included.
In 1990, Washington State enacted a civil commitment law for persons found to be sexually violent predators. As of September 1996, 38 persons are housed at the Special Commitment Center in Monroe, Washington; 21 have been committed under the Act, and the others are awaiting trial. This paper summarizes records from the Special Commitment Center regarding the residents' criminal history, offense pattern, treatment history, and mental health diagnosis.
This paper describes the policy debates surrounding registration laws and summarizes the features of legislation in all 50 states.
Community notification refers to the distribution of information regarding released sex offenders to citizens and community organizations. This report analyzes 32 states with legislation authorizing some form of notification, or access to information, on registered sex offenders. The states are organized into three categories: broad community notification, notification to organizations and individuals at risk, and access to registration information.
The Community Protection Act was implemented in Washington State in March 1990. One of the provisions of the Act, known as the community notification law, authorizes local law enforcement agencies to disseminate information to the public regarding convicted sex offenders who reside in the community. Washington State's community notification law was the first of its kind in the nation. Several other states have now enacted similar laws. This report provides the first examination of how the community notification law has been implemented in Washington State, who has been affected by it, and its impact on recidivism among sex offenders who were subjects of the law.
Washington State's Community Protection Act includes a provision allowing public officials to warn communities about potentially dangerous sex offenders when they are released from incarceration. The statute does not specify how dangerousness is to be assessed, nor does it establish methods for notification. Local jurisdictions, therefore, have implemented the law in a variety of ways. This paper describes how local jurisdictions determine, with assistance from the state, which sex offenders are dangerous, and how they notify the public. A sample of jurisdictions were contacted to ascertain their decision-making procedures and costs.
The 1994 Washington Legislature passed E2SHB 2319, a wide-ranging Act whose primary purpose is to reduce the rate of violence-particularly youth violence-and other at-risk behaviors in the state. To accomplish these reductions, the legislature adopted three policy approaches: public health, community health and safety networks, and increased criminal penalties. The legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to evaluate the effectiveness of these policies in reducing the rates of violence and the other at-risk behaviors. This report describes the Institute's evaluation plan.
In 1990, the legislature directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to study the effectiveness of the Special Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative (SSOSA). Legislators wanted to know if this treatment option, which allows judges to order community treatment for eligible sex offenders, compromised public safety. This publication reports on three studies regarding sex offenders that are designed to answer policymakers' questions. Each study addresses a particular aspect of recidivism.