Freeman, Naomi J. and Sadler, Jeffrey C. (2009). The Adam Walsh Act:
A False Sense of Security or an Effective Public Policy?
Criminal Justice Policy Review, Online First. Sage (subscription required)
"With the enactment of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA), states are required to standardize their registration and community notification practices by categorizing sex offenders into
three-tier levels in the interest of increasing public safety. No empirical research, however, has investigated whether implementation of the AWA is likely to increase public safety. Using a sample of registered sex offenders in New York State, the current study examined the effectiveness of the Adam Walsh-tier system to classify offenders by likelihood of recidivism. Results indicated that the AWA falls short of increasing public safety. In fact, registered sex offenders classified by AWA as Tier 1 (lowest risk) were rearrested for both nonsexual and sexual offenses more than sex offenders in Tier 2 (moderate risk) or Tier 3 (highest risk)."