Assessing the Practical and Monetary Efficacy of New Jersey's Megan's Law, 1972-2007 (ICPSR 26401)
Principal Investigator(s): Zgoba, Kristen, New Jersey Department of Corrections; Witt, Philip, Associates in Psychological Services, P.A.; Dalessandro, Melissa, New Jersey Department of Corrections; Veysey, Bonita, Rutgers University
The study investigated New Jersey's Megan's Law and its specific deterrence effect on re-offending, including the level of general and sexual offense recidivism, the nature of sexual re-offenses, and time to first re-arrest for sexual and non-sexual re-offenses (i.e., community tenure). Data were collected on 550 sexual offenders released during the years 1990 to 2000.
One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access. (Instructions on YouTube.)
A downloadable version of data for this study is available however, certain identifying information in the downloadable version may have been masked or edited to protect respondent privacy. Additional data not included in the downloadable version are available in a restricted version of this data collection. For more information about the differences between the downloadable data and the restricted data for this study, please refer to the codebook notes section of the PDF codebook. Users interested in obtaining restricted data must complete and sign a Restricted Data Use Agreement, describe the research project and data protection plan, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.
Zgoba, Kristen, Philip Witt, Melissa Dalessandro, and Bonita Veysey. Assessing the Practical and Monetary Efficacy of New Jersey's Megan's Law, 1972-2007. ICPSR26401-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2013-04-19. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR26401.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR26401.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2006-IJ-CX-0018)
Scope of Study
Smallest Geographic Unit: none
Date of Collection:
Unit of Observation: individual
Universe: All New Jersey sex offenders released from incarceration between the years 1990 and 2000.
Data Types: administrative records data
Data Collection Notes:
The study was conducted in three phases. Phase One was a 21-year (10 years prior and 10 years after and the year of the implementation of Megan's Law) trend study of sex offenses in each of New Jersey's counties and of the state as a whole. In Phase Two, data were collected on 550 sexual offenders released during the years 1990 to 2000. Phase Three collected data on the implementation and ongoing costs of administering Megan's Law. Only Phase Two data on 550 sexual offenders are available as part of this data collection at this time.
The study focused on data from 550 sexual offenders released between 1990-2000 but the data provide information on offenses as early as 1972 and as late as 2007.
Study Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of community notification and registration laws (Megan's Law) in New Jersey. The study examined Megan's Law for its specific deterrence effect on re-offending, including the level of general and sexual offense recidivism, the nature of sexual re-offenses, and time to first re-arrest for sexual and non-sexual re-offenses (i.e., community tenure).
Study Design: The research team developed a Megan's Law study data collection tool to extract information from paper-based inmate folders/records on the 550 sexual offenders in the study. For each of these cases, extensive demographic, clinical, institutional and service use, criminal history, and crime offense characteristics information was collected. This provides an opportunity to contrast outcomes of offenders arrested and released prior to the passing of Megan's Law with offenders arrested and released after the legislation passed in 1994. The outcome measure of recidivism was collected through June 15, 2007. The remaining measures were adjusted to assure that all offenders had an equal time at risk, specifically 2,358 days or approximately six and a half years.
Sample: The study used a stratified random sample of sex offenders released from New Jersey Department of Corrections facilities (either the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center [ADTC] or one of the general population facilities) before and after implementation of Megan's Law. Fifty sex offenders per year (25 from the ADTC and 25 from the general population) were randomly selected for the period covering 1990 through 2000, 11 years in total. This yielded a sample of 550 cases.
Time Method: Longitudinal: Cohort/ Event-based
Mode of Data Collection: record abstracts
The research team developed a Megan's Law study data collection tool to extract information from paper-based inmate folders/records on the 550 sexual offenders in the study.
Description of Variables: The study contains 122 variables including outcome variables as well as offender characteristics/demographics, intervention/treatment variables, index offense information, prior sexual and non-sexual offense variables, and re-offenses and incarcerations variables. Outcome variables include recidivism, community tenure, and harm. Community tenure includes time until first re-arrest. Harm includes number of sex offenses, violence of sex offenses and number of child victims.
Response Rates: Not applicable
Presence of Common Scales: none
Extent of Processing: ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:
- Created variable labels and/or value labels.
- Standardized missing values.
- Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.
Original ICPSR Release: 2013-04-19
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