Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Justice Studies

First Advisor

Betsy Mathews

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Second Advisor

Judah Schept

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Third Advisor

Kristie R. Blevins

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies


Sex Offenders are often the most feared group of offenders. In response to this fear, sex offender registries were created as a method for monitoring convicted offenders and for providing communities with a sense of security by publicizing information about potential predators nearby. The underlying questions are whether or not notification and registration laws actually reduce crime and make the community safer. According to the literature, and to the current study, they do not. However, community safety and recidivism rates are not the only factors that pose concern attributed to registration and notification. Researchers alike have argued that these practices are a violation of human rights and the stigma surrounding the label infringes upon the lives of offenders and their family. Therefore, collateral consequences experienced by both offenders and by third parties are a common occurrence. In the current study, nine common themes were identified: impact on employment; impact on housing; perceptions of the registry; mental and emotional health; denial of service excluding housing and employment; impact on families; impact on other relationships; support networks; and vituperative attacks. The same nine themes were used to assess family members. Through each of these themes, an array of collateral consequences were identified that range in severity. In the discussion and conclusion section, reintegration difficulty, myths surrounding stranger danger, and ways in which social capital can be gained are discussed.

Included in

Criminology Commons