Constitutionality and Effectiveness of Sexual Offender Registration and Community Notification Legislation

Publication Year



Sex offender registration, constitutional challenges, sex offender laws


Constitutional Law | Criminal Law | Legal Studies | Political Science


Megan's Law is the general name given to state laws enacted in all 50 states that require registration of sex offenders and community notification. The laws were a reaction to the 1994 rape and murder of Megan Kanka in New Jersey by a twice-convicted sex offender who lived across the street from her family. In general, the legislation necessitates the registration of convicted sex offenders upon release from prison. It further requires community notification to certain members of the community, based on the likelihood of the offender repeating deviant acts, by law enforcement officials to the location and identity of the offenders deemed likely to reoffend.

This thesis evaluates the constitutional issues and practicality of sexual offender registration and notification laws, known as Megan's Law, to decipher what is faulty with the current legislation. The thesis will also examine current alternatives being offered and suggested to such laws and evaluate their effectiveness. In conclusion, the thesis will give suggestions for the formulation of a policy that is constitutional and effective based on the preceding arguments.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science

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