DOI: 10.1177/08874034231187300 ISSN: 0887-4034

A Content Analysis of Sex Offender Registries: The Influence of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) on Registry Information

John C. Navarro, Christina L. Shellabarger
  • Law

Sex offender registries contain information available for public access through websites. In 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), a core piece of the Adam Walsh Act, was introduced to overhaul the disparate SORN systems across states. Although instrumental in systematizing the sex offender policy, there has yet to be a sufficient investigation into SORNA’s effects in shaping public website registry requirements. Our quantitative content analysis of 50 state sex offender online registries categorized the 88 identified registry elements into seven mutually exclusive features: liability concerns, dissemination of information, mapping features, search features, listing details of registrants, offense information, and victim information. Findings show that states largely share many common registry elements, with multivariate analyses suggesting SORNA-compliant registries are more likely to publicly share eight elements specifically relating to registrants’ search and listing features and offense location.

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