Footnotes (63)



On Emotion, Juvenile Sex Offenders, and Mandatory Registration

Catherine L. Carpenter

Southwestern Law School

November 10, 2012

3 Journal of Race, Gender, & Policy 1 (2013, Forthcoming)

It is both unremarkable and true that juveniles are different from adults. United States Supreme Court decisions over the past decade have highlighted the extent of the differences. Yet, played out against the backdrop of sex offender registration laws, the conversation takes an abrupt turn. Rather than differentiating between adult and juvenile offenders, federal sex offender registration laws require juveniles convicted of certain sex offenses to face the same onerous registration and notification burdens as their adult counterparts.

Tracking the shift in sex offender registration models from “likely to reoffend” to “conviction-based" assessment, this article argues that “conviction-based” assessment is an unstable proposition when applied to child offenders for two fundamental reasons. First, juvenile offenders lack intentionality and purpose that adult offenders possess, thereby diminishing the value that a conviction carries. Further, and more importantly, studies reveal that the commission of juvenile sex crimes does not portend future predatory behavior, raising the question of the purpose of registration for this class of offenders.

Ultimately, the legislative push to require juvenile sex offenders to suffer serious register and notification burdens demonstrates convincingly the pitfall that impacts the entire debate over sex offender registration. Emotional rhetoric controls the legislative agenda, even in the face of compelling arguments to the contrary.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

Keywords: sex offender registration, juvenile sex offender, mandatory registration, SORNA

Open PDF in Browser Download This Paper

Date posted: March 11, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Catherine L., On Emotion, Juvenile Sex Offenders, and Mandatory Registration (November 10, 2012). 3 Journal of Race, Gender, & Policy 1 (2013, Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2231125

Contact Information

Catherine L. Carpenter (Contact Author)
Southwestern Law School ( email )
3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States
213-738-6875 (Phone)
213-738-6698 (Fax)

Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,076
Downloads: 138
Download Rank: 164,737
Footnotes:  63