Paying to Be Punished: A Statutory Analysis of Sex Offender Registration Fees

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Criminal Justice Ethics

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Over the last 20 years, sex offender policies, specifically in terms of community corrections, have increased in scope. One of the most controversial and pervasive sex offender policies is that of registration. In response to the consumption of already limited resources, jurisdictions have imposed increasingly higher community supervision fees onto the offenders, requiring them to pay for their own re-entry. However, to date no research study has examined the statutory language associated with registration fees collected post release from formal community sanctions. Using a statutory analysis within the United States, this research finds and quantifies the imposition of a registration fee on offenders who are legally compelled to pay these registration costs, regardless of whether they are still currently under community supervision. Results show that more than half of U.S. states (n = 28) incorporate statutory language authorizing registration fees, ranging anywhere from $5 per registration to up to $250 per year. These findings, as well as suggestions for future research and policy recommendations, are discussed.


© 2018 John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York. Published by Taylor & Francis.



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