Clevenger 2012 Law

Title Information

Author: Shelly L. Clevenger

Title: To register or not to register?

Subtitle: The effectiveness of Megan's Law in Pennsylvania

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Year: May 2012

Pages: 171pp.

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | U.S. History | Prosecution: Laws / Megan's Law

Full Text

Link: ProQuest (Restricted Access)

Additional Information

Author: Shelly Clevenger, Department of Criminal Justice Sciences, Illinois State University


This study assessed the effectiveness of Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania. Both the original version of Megan’s Law, passed April 21, 1996 and the revised version, passed November 24, 2004, were examined. The original version of Megan’s Law required individuals convicted of a sex offense to register with law enforcement and also notify residents in the community. The revised version of Megan’s Law made an Internet registry available to the public of all registered sex offenders in the state of Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data was used in both annual and monthly form. The annual data set included the years 1974-2009. The monthly data set included 2001-2010. An interrupted time-series design (ITS) and ARIMA modeling as a data analysis technique were used to determine the effectiveness of Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania. The outcome variables included: urban rape; suburban/rural rape; rape of an individual under the age of 18; rape of an individual over the age of 18; murder of an individual 14 and under; urban sex offenses; and suburban/rural sex offenses. Nonequivalent dependent variables included: urban murder; suburban/rural murder; murder of an individual 15 and over; urban aggravated assault; suburban/rural aggravated assault; urban robbery; and suburban/rural robbery.
The data indicated mixed results regarding the effectiveness of Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania. A decrease was seen some dependent variables, such as urban rape after the original and revised version of Megan’s Law; murder of an individual 14 and under; and urban sex offenses after the revised version of Megan’s Law. However, there was an increase in suburban/rural rape and sex offenses for both versions of the law. A discussion is offered to address potential influences and explanations for these findings, as well as suggestions for future research to further examine the impact of Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania.« (Source: Thesis)


  Acknowledgements (p. vi)
  Chapter I. Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapter II. An Examination of the History and Empirical Reasearch (p. 12)
    Introduction (p. 12)
    History of Megan's Law (p. 13)
    Process and stakeholder evaluations (p. 19)
    Research examining the efficacy of Megan's Law (p. 27)
    Methodological issues of past research (p. 37)
    Process of policy analysis and researching law effectiveness (p. 41)
  Chapter III. Theoretical Framework (p. 46)
    Introduction (p. 46)
    Historical overview (p. 47)
    Routine activities theory (p. 49)
    Rational choice theory (p. 57)
    Rational choice meets routine activities theory (p. 65)
  Chapter IV. Methods (p. 68)
    Independent variables (p. 68)
    Dependent variables (p. 69)
    Conceptual definition (p. 72)
    Operational definition (p. 73)
    Data (p. 73)
    ITS design (p. 74)
    Hypotheses (p. 75)
    Threats to validity (p. 77)
  Chapter V. Analysis (p. 83)
    Interrupted Time-Series Design Analysis (p. 83)
    Data analysis (p. 89)
    Statistical summary (p. 111)
  Chapter VI. Discussion and Conclusion (p. 117)
    Summary of findings (p. 117)
    Megan's Law ineffective in Pennsylvania (p. 127)
    Policy implications (p. 129)
    Research limitations and suggestions for future research (p. 132)
    Conclusions (p. 137)
  References (p. 140)

Wikipedia: Megan's Law

Added: November 1, 2014 – Last updated: November 1, 2014