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(For more information on treatment, see Chapter 5, "Effectiveness of Treatment for Juveniles Who Sexually Offend," in the Juvenile section.) Nevertheless, this chapter reviews these studies and their findings for the purpose of informing policy and practice at the federal, state and local levels.
Definitive conclusions regarding the impact of registration and notification with juveniles who commit sexual offenses are difficult to make at this time, not only because so few studies have been conducted but also because the available research is generally hampered by an inability to isolate the impact of registration and notification from other interventions (e.g., specialized supervision and treatment) and the overall low rate of sexual recidivism attributed to juveniles.
In one study, disposition outcomes for South Carolina juveniles who committed sexual assault or robbery crimes between 19 (N = 18,068) were examined.
The study found that juveniles who committed sexual offenses (n = 5,166) were subject to a significant change in prosecutor decision-making following implementation of the sex offender registry in 1995, particularly younger juveniles and those with fewer prior offenses. 158) concluded, "For sexual offense charges, there was a 41 percent reduction in the odds of a prosecutor moving forward after registration was implemented than before." Similarly, there was a statistically significant reduction in assault dispositions of 22 percent, but there was not a statistically significant reduction in robbery dispositions over the same time period (Letourneau et al., 2009b).
Further, a study examining recidivism for juveniles subject to different levels of registration and notification focused on juveniles in Washington state who were subject to assessment for registration and notification level following release to parole after incarceration from 1995 to 2002 ( = 278) offenders had a 9 percent sexual reconviction rate, while those identified as level III offenders had a 12 percent sexual reconviction rate.
Level III is the highest registration and notification level in Washington, requiring active community notification, while levels I and II do not require community notification (Barnoski, 2008).
In a study of dispositions for juveniles who committed sexual offenses in an urban region of Michigan in 2006 (N = 299 petitions filed), Calley (2008) found that a high percentage of serious charges were pled down to a lesser charge and, as a result, a significant number of juveniles who committed sexual offenses were no longer eligible for county-funded sex-offense-specific treatment.