Mapping the Geographic Effect of Sex Offender Housing Restrictions

Authors: Wendy Dorman*, Eastern Michigan University
Topics: Human Rights, Ethnicity and Race, Cultural Geography
Keywords: carceral geography, poverty, jails, race
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) was enacted in 1994 and became accessible online in 1999. Sex offender restrictions in MI include living, working, or loitering within 1,000 feet of a school. MI has the 4th largest registry in the US including children as young as 14, people who have never committed a sex offense, people never convicted of a crime, and requires registration for life (1). Studies have found that SORAs do not reduce crime and may increase recidivism (2, 4), and that where offenders live or work has no connection to where child sex offenses occur (3). 93% of child sex abuse cases are committed by family members or acquaintances (1). If they are not effective why do states continue to support and expand them?

This study attempted to find patterns across three neighboring counties to answer the following questions:
1) Are there differences in demographics between neighborhoods with high vs. low concentrations of registered sex offenders?
2) Do exclusion zones restrict housing access differently across neighborhood types?

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