Sex offender laws: Legislators' accounts of the need for policy

Lisa L. Sample, Colleen Kadleck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


To date, scholars have simply inferred the beliefs underlying sex offender laws from the passage and content of the legislation. Few researchers have directly spoken to legislators to determine their opinions of the sex offender problem. This study seeks to determine the perceptions of sex offenders and sex offending in the 1990s that drove the need for sex offender reform in Illinois and the degree to which these perceptions influenced the content of the laws. The findings suggest that policy makers had very distinct ideas about the nature of the sex offender problem in terms of who was responsible, who was in need of protection, and the degree to which legislative responses would address the issue. There was congruence between these personal perceptions and the content of sex offender laws. The results shed light on the degree to which public officials' personal perceptions influence the passage and content of legislation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-62
Number of pages23
JournalCriminal Justice Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Crime policy
  • Sex offender
  • Sex offender law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Sex offender laws: Legislators' accounts of the need for policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this