Award Date

Spring 2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Department

Criminal Justice

Advisor 1

M. Alexis Kennedy, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

William Sousa

Second Committee Member

Randall Shelden

Graduate Faculty Representative

Kimberly Barchard

Number of Pages

81

Abstract

Sex offender registration laws are very controversial. All fifty states require adult sex offenders to register. Twenty-eight states have extended registration and community notification requirements to juveniles (Hiller, 1998). These states seem to have failed to look at the uniqueness of juvenile sex offending. Juveniles have a very low recidivism rate and complex issues of culpability from age-of-consent laws. Applying Megan's Law to juveniles could have considerable negative consequences for juveniles' social development, particularly because one of the main stipulations of the law requires the juvenile to notify their school. Rehabilitation is a key factor of the juvenile justice system and by applying Megan's Law to juveniles it requires them to notify their school upon arrival, which adds to the juveniles' reputation, causes social isolation, and labels offenders as a sexual predator (Lowe, 1997). School is and important part of a child's development as they experience social interaction as well as basic learning skills. Therefore this type of notification is damaging the juveniles' chance to rehabilitate. This research study focused on general knowledge of and attitudes toward Megan's Law and its application to juvenile sex offenders among students currently attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Participants' attitudes were compared to the underlying tenets conveyed in current legislation known as Megan's Law and recently enacted Adam Walsh Act of 2006.

Keywords

Adam Walsh Act of 2006; Adult sex offenders; Juvenile sex offenders; Megan’s law; Recidivism; Rehabilitation; Sex offender registration laws; Sex offender registries

Disciplines

Child Psychology | Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Juvenile Law | Law | Psychology | Sexuality and the Law | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Sociology

Language

English