Lincoln Memorial University Law Review Archive


Most citizens believe that sex offenders re-offend at a significantly higher rate than thieves, drug dealers, or average criminals. In 2003, the United States Supreme Court stated sex offenders’ recidivism rates are, “frightening and high.” Taking a cue from the Supreme Court itself, attorney Robert C. Montgomery, arguing in support of a North Carolina law banning sex offenders from social media platforms, stated, “This Court has recognized that [sex offenders] have a high rate of recidivism and are very likely to do this again.” A recent New York Times article revealed that the Supreme Court’s 2003 recidivism statistics were pulled from Psychology Today, and stated that lawmakers and judges would be better served if they based their judgments on facts, not myths. Despite these assertions and public opinion, it is much more accurate to describe sex offender’s recidivism rate as low. Part I of this article will discuss how we are currently treating and managing sex offenders and how different programs impact sex offender recidivism. Part II of this article will describe how we currently manage sex offenders. Part III of this article will explore the driving forces behind the public misperception of sex offender recidivism rates and what the actual recidivism rates are. Lastly, Part IV of this article will propose various changes to the current management of sex offenders and what programs should be continued based on their reduction of recidivism.