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SORNA''s Potential Effects on the Pennsylvania Juvenile Justice System

Award Information

Award #
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Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $25,000)

This research project uses a mixed-methods approach to examine the implications of recent sex offender legislation for juvenile justice systems. The 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) created a standard Tier classification system of sex offenders (I, II, and III) based on severity of conviction offense. Juveniles age 14 and older convicted of a Tier III offense (aggravated sex abuse and above) must register and be subjected to community notification in the jurisdiction in which they live, work, and attend school. SORNA also applies to all sex offenders currently involved with the juvenile or criminal justice system. The aim of this study is to model how the legislation will impact the classification of juvenile sex offenders and workloads of agencies who handle these offenders, both retroactively and prospectively. The study will analyze Juvenile Court Records for Pennsylvania from 1985-2005 using dynamic systems modeling to demonstrate how this standardized classification approach may affect system workload and fiscal demands in the future. Upon completion of the dynamic systems modeling, the study will also interview five (5) juvenile court judges and five (5) prosecutors concerning their interpretation of the study results. This study will be able to inform policymakers and practitioners about the costs of implementing the SORNA legislation. ca/ncf

Date Created: September 20, 2011