Registering Harm

Congress passed the Adam Walsh Act, a federal law that requires states to include children as young as
age 14 on registries — often for the rest of their lives — in an attempt to protect our children from sexual violence. But the Adam Walsh Act won’t keep our children safe. Instead, this law will consume
valuable law enforcement resources, needlessly target children and families, and undermine the very purpose of the juvenile justice system. Thankfully, states can opt out of compliance with this law, and make smart investments in programs and policies that will actually protect our children and our communities


Maximizing Predictive Accuracy in Sexually Violent Predator Evaluations

The Static-99 and related procedures (Static-2002, Static-2002R, and Static-
99R) are the most frequently used actuarial instruments for assessing sexual-recidivism
risk. We analyze the original 15-year recidivism data for the Static-99 and all of the
subsequent “norms” included in datasets from http://www.static99.org3 and published articles.
We use frequency tables to construct traditional 2 X 2 contingency tables for the
datasets. We report and analyze corrected values for the Static-2002 dataset that was
incorrectly presented in Hanson, Helmus, and Thornton (2010). We use traditional test
utilities to seek optimal cutoff scores in order to maximize overall accuracy. We provide
summary tables showing optimal cutoff scores for all four instruments. We provide an
example that illustrates how an evaluator could use traditional methods for classification
and prediction tests to report positive predictive value (PPV), with associated confidence
intervals, as recommended by Heilbrun, Douglas, and Yasuhara (2009).

Maximizing Risk Assessments

IL – System is broken

Fairview Heights, IL (October 11, 2010) Given this is election season, it is to be expected that those running
will play the sex offender card, either by saying “I am tough on sex offenders” or “My opponent is soft on sex
offenders.” It is the responsibility of our lawmakers to ensure the bills they sponsor are actually effective and
not just drafted as “feel good” measures.
In a few recent articles, Attorney General Lisa Madigan states they are going after sex offenders who view
child pornography as if this is the most important thing to do in order to protect children. While I appreciate
her efforts to “crack down on sex offenders,” she is misleading the public and quoting statistics that are
completely inaccurate:
• A recent article quoted, “Studies have shown that users of child pornography are more likely to also be
sexual abusers of children, according to Madigan’s office.” However, research (BMC Psychiatry, July 2009)
has shown, “For people without a prior conviction for a hands-on sex offense, the consumption of child
pornography alone does not, in itself, seem to represent a risk factor for committing such an offense.”
IL – System is broken

Understanding Sexual Perpetration Against Children

This study explores in an adolescent sample hypotheses about child sexual abuse
perpetration drawn from contemporary theories that implicate insecure attachment
and adolescent social development. Specifically, three 13- to 18-year-old adolescent
male samples (sex offenders with child victims, sex offenders with peer/adult victims,
and nonsex delinquent youth) were compared in a cross-sectional design. Participants
completed a computer-administered self-report questionnaire and a semistructured
attachment style interview. Attachment style was coded by two independent raters
blind to study hypotheses and group membership. The results indicated an indirect
effect for attachment style. Attachment anxiety affected involvement with peers
and interpersonal adequacy. Feelings of interpersonal inadequacy, combined with
oversexualization and positive attitudes toward others distinguished sex offenders with
child victims from nonsex delinquents and from sex offenders with peer/adult victims.
These data provide a preliminary model of sexual abuse perpetration consistent with
contemporary theories. Attachment anxiety with a lack of misanthropic attitudes
toward others appears to lead to isolation from peers and feelings of interpersonal


No Rest for the Wicked

The civil commitment of ―sexually dangerous persons‖ is not a new concept. States first began doing so in the mid-20th century, based then on ―sexual psychopathy.‖ Since that time, concepts of ―sexually dangerous predators‖ have evolved and the laws have evolved with them. It was not until 2006, however, that Congress created federal laws to mirror those of the States. The Adam Walsh Act, named after the son of television host John Walsh, was created to ―protect children‖ and ―make communities safer.‖ The Supreme Court in United States v. Comstock held the Act constitutional under the Necessary and Proper Clause. While Congress had good intentions behind the Act, Comstock‘s ruling created a veritable ―blank check‖ for Congress and paved the way for exorbitant costs to the States, in a time when fiscal pressures make simply implementing the law nearly impossible. This Note explores the rationale behind Comstock and the Adam Walsh Act, highlights the damaging implications behind the decision and the good intentions of Congress, and makes recommendations for the future of both the case and the Act itself.

No Rest for Wicked