Study: Megan's Laws May Not Make Children Safer
A new study in New Jersey, home of the original Megan's Law which requires convicted sex offenders to register with authorities, finds no evidence they make children safer and questions whether the laws are worth the enormous cost.
For those who don't know a Megan's law from an Amber Alert or a Laci's or Jessica's law,
The 1994 law is named after Megan Kanka, a suburban Trenton girl who was raped and murdered by a convicted sex offender living across the street. It has been a model for dozens of state laws across the country.
The law requires sex criminals to report their whereabouts to law enforcement authorities, who must maintain a catalog of the offenders and notify residents when a high-risk offender moves nearby. The tracking and notification apparatus in New Jersey costs county and local governments millions of dollars.
As to the study, conducted by the New Jersey Department of Corrections and funded by the National Institute of Justice (the research arm of the Department of Justice),
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