On Demand

Laws Regulating Individuals with Sex Offense Convictions: A Civil Rights Perspective


Created on July 28, 2016




In every state, individuals convicted of sex offenses are subject to a number of laws and regulations regulating where they can be physically present and requiring them to provide numerous pieces of identifying information to the government at regular intervals, sometimes for life. Given the political popularity of such laws despite increasing evidence calling into question their efficacy, there is little holding back state and local governments from enacting increasingly harsh and burdensome statutes aimed at this population. Recently, for instance, the federal government passed the International Megan's Law which requires those convicted of a sex offense to have a stamp indicating that fact on his or her passport. These types of regulations are not only relevant for those convicted of sex offenses; many jurisdictions are also considering requiring state and local agencies to create public registries for other crimes, such as animal abuse, domestic violence, or drug offenses.

This course, presented by Erin Beth Harrist, Senior Staff Attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, provides a brief overview of the history of these types of regulations and the three key forms they usually take: registration and notification statutes, residency restrictions, and civil commitment statutes. Through an analysis of the major Supreme Court decisions and other authorities in this area, this course reviews potential constitutional challenges to laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses.

Learning Objectives:

I. Review history of laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

II. Understand the main types of laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

III.  Analyze the major decisions upholding or invalidating laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

IV. Provide guidance for evaluating and challenging laws regulating individuals convicted of sex offenses

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