Knowledge as Power: Criminal Registration and Community Notification Laws in America

9 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2009 Last revised: 25 Sep 2009

Wayne A. Logan

Florida State University - College of Law

Date Written: August 25, 2009

Abstract

Societies have long been concerned about the criminal threat posed by potentially dangerous individuals in their midst. America is surely no exception. Knowledge as Power traces the evolution of a particular strategy intended to address this anxiety - criminal registration and community notification laws.

While their European origins extend back to at least the eighteenth century, America’s criminal registration laws took shape in the 1930s as a means of monitoring gangsters, thereafter experienced an extended period of desuetude and then a dramatic resurgence in the 1990s, when they were complemented by community notification laws. Today, the laws collectively function much as "Wanted" posters did in the Frontier West, publicly disclosing registrants' identifying information, involving not just law enforcement but also entire communities in the criminal monitoring process.

Knowledge as Power provides the first in-depth history and analysis of criminal registration and community notification laws, examining the forces driving their rapid nationwide proliferation, as well as how the laws have fundamentally affected American society. The book’s Introduction is posted here. Other contents include: Historical Antecedents; Early Laws: 1930-1990; Modern Laws: 1990-Today; Social and Political Catalysts; Effects and Consequences; Law, Privacy, and Governance; Prospects for the Future; and Conclusion.

Keywords: registration, community notification, megan's laws, sex offender, crime control

Suggested Citation

Logan, Wayne A., Knowledge as Power: Criminal Registration and Community Notification Laws in America (August 25, 2009). Stanford University Press, 2009; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 387. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1461490 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1461490

Wayne A. Logan (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
240
Rank
101,234
Abstract Views
1,424