Estimating the Impacts of SORNA in Pennsylvania: The Potential Consequences of Including Juveniles
|Auerhahn, Kathleen, 1970-
|Henderson, Jaime S.
|The federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA; 2006) established a uniform, offense-based registration system for sex offenders age 14 and older. The legislation created a hierarchical, three-tier classification scheme in which convictions of the most severe sex offenses result in Tier III assignment and convictions of the least severe offenses yield Tier I delegation. Juveniles are treated the same as adults when adjudicated of serious, Tier III offenses such as rape and aggravated indecent assault. Tier III assignment requires lifetime registration and notification for offenders in jurisdictions in which they live, work, and go to school. On December 20th, 2011, Governor Corbett signed Pennsylvania's version of SORNA and it was implemented exactly one year later on December 20th, 2012. The project, which focuses on Pennsylvania's version of SORNA, comes at a time when the impact of this new law has yet to be assessed. This study explores the system resources necessary for implementing this legislation, including personnel, costs, and enhancements to technologies necessary for creating and disseminating information on sex offenders. Although it has garnered much attention because it places unfunded mandates on states, opposition on behalf of jurisdictions is largely due to the inclusion of juveniles. Many researchers and legal advocates have argued against the policy due to the amenability of juveniles to treatment, low recidivism rates among sex offenders, and the negative consequences lifetime registration may have on youthful offenders. In fact, no previous research supports registration and notification as effective tools for deterring sex offending. While the aforementioned concerns brought to the attention of the government are credible, they have been unsuccessful in producing change at the federal level. These concerns were influential in drafting Pennsylvania's legislation that limited the number of offenses that triggered registration and withheld juvenile information from the public website. This dissertation employed a mixed-methods design to investigate SORNA's potential effects based upon the inclusion of juveniles. Research questions focused on the workload of agencies who work with sex offenders, the potential costs associated with SORNA requirements, the number of juvenile offenders now and in the future who may be implicated by the legislation, and the opinions and experiences of practitioners who work with juvenile sex offenders. Data collected by the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges' Commission were analyzed to investigate the research questions. Descriptive and bivariate inferential statistical analyses were conducted, in addition to data-validated dynamic systems modeling to provide a prospective analysis into how many youth may face lifetime registration across the Commonwealth. Costs incurred as a result of SORNA's requirements were explored as well. Following the quantitative analyses, interviews with practitioners were conducted to obtain opinions and insight on the projected volume of juvenile offenders affected by SORNA and fiscal information relevant to juvenile sex offender supervision, management, and registration.
|Temple University. Libraries
|Theses and Dissertations
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|Juvenile Sex Offender Policy
|Estimating the Impacts of SORNA in Pennsylvania: The Potential Consequences of Including Juveniles
|Harris, Philip W.
|Roman, Caterina Gouvis, 1966-
|Schwartz, Robert G.
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