The national sex offender registry monitors persons convicted of sex offenses (PCSO) after they finish their jail or prison term. Often, community members are also notified when a PCSO moves into their neighbourhood.

Dale Spencer

“The registry was designed to give police access to information, alleviate public fears and give the perception of protecting citizens,” says Dale Spencer, associate professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies. “Jurisdictions have reported dramatic increases in the amount of PCSO placed on the registry due to the widening of behaviours defined as sex crimes, the increase of sex crimes happening online and tougher penalties.”

Spencer, along with co-investigator Rose Ricciardelli (Memorial University of Newfoundland), received a 5-year $173,717 SSHRC Insight Grant for the project, “Probing the Registry: Police Management and Monitoring of the National Sex Offender Registry.”

The research project focuses on the RCMP and municipal police officers managing the registry to look at how the registry is used in Canada, how collaborations between the RCMP and other policing organizations are interpreted by officers and how the registry serves to manage PCSO in the community.

“With the recent increase in persons on the registry, it is timely to investigate police perceptions of the usefulness of the registry and their experiences managing PCSO in the community,” says Spencer. “The project will look at how organizational rules and beliefs impact the use of the registry and the experiences of officers managing PCSO.”

The project will involve focus groups with RCMP members in registry centres and interviews with officers in police organizations across Canada. Spencer says, “We’ll look at police culture, experiences and practices related to the management of the registry itself and the monitoring of those who are named.”

Friday, June 18, 2021 in , ,
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