Who are RSOs

Despite growing focus on registration and notification systems as central elements of national sex offender
management practice, there has been remarkably little systematic analysis of the content of these registries
and the diversity of individuals contained within them. Specifically, little research attention has been paid to
examining the heterogeneity of the population of registered sex offenders — a circumstance that may obscure
important distinctions within the population and, in turn, may undermine the ostensible purpose of SORN to
prevent sexual victimization. Addressing this significant gap in our current knowledge, this article sets forth a
national profile of the registered sex offender (RSO) population, drawn from an analysis of data on 445,127
RSOs obtained from the public registries of 49 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and Guam. In contrast with
the homogenized perception about registered sex offenders that permeates much public discourse, the
analysis illuminates the wide diversity of registrants across a range of demographic, offense-related, registry
status, and risk-oriented variables. Policy and practice implications concerning risk, prevention, and the public
safety utility of sex offender registries are discussed.

Who are RSOS


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