Sex offender community notification and community stratification

Lorine A. Hughes, Colleen Kadleck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Community notification laws have been passed by the federal government and legislature of every state. At the very least, these laws require local law enforcement officials to publicize the personal and residential information of known sex offenders. Although researchers and other social commentators have begun to assess the effects of community notification on targeted sex offenders and on criminal justice practices and practitioners, the potential consequences of the policy for different types of communities have received only scant attention. Using sex offender registry and US Census data for two states (Nebraska and Oklahoma), we examine the relationship between community characteristics and the residential patterns of sex offenders. Findings from mapping and regression analyses suggest a greater concentration of sex offenders in disadvantaged communities than in more affluent communities. To the extent that community notification allows residents of more affluent communities to mobilize resources in order to remove identified sex offenders, it may increase the geographical clustering of these offenders in areas already facing a greater risk and having fewer resources to manage the problem. Implications of findings in terms of "concentrated disadvantage" are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-495
Number of pages27
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Community notification
  • Neighborhoods
  • Sex offender
  • Stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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