Developing Strategies to Measure SORNA Implementation Costs and Public Safety Benefits

Other Funding
  • Program Type
    Other Funding
  • Funding Award
  • Eligibilty Requirements (Y/N)

To improve the effectiveness of sex offender registration and notification programs in the United States, Congress passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248).

NIJ’s SORNA Challenge seeks creative and innovative research strategies for future researchers to use when studying (1) the implementation costs associated with complying with SORNA and/or (2) SORNA’s public safety benefits (examples include, but are not limited to, the Act’s general and specific deterrent effects, its effect on law enforcement’s ability to prevent crime, and its effect on the public’s ability to protect itself). Contestants may propose a research strategy for one or both of these sets of issues (“Challenge components”). One cash prize will be awarded for each of these two Challenge components. A proposal addressing only one of the Challenge components is eligible for only one of the prizes, whereas a proposal that addresses both Challenge components will be eligible for both prizes (see Section VI).

Sex offender registration programs serve several important public safety purposes, including tracking sex offenders as they are released into the community, providing information to law enforcement that may assist in investigating crimes and apprehending criminals, curbing sex offender recidivism, and deterring would-be sex offenders. Typically, sex offender registration programs also involve public notices and make information about released sex offenders more broadly available to the public for the purposes of crime prevention and self-protection.

Empirical research on sex offenders has grown over the past decade, but no study to date has examined the multifaceted effects of SORNA, specifically the wide range of costs that have been or may be incurred in implementing SORNA, or the public safety benefits achieved with SORNA compliance.

This Challenge seeks to advance the sex offender research literature by developing a comprehensive strategy for further research measuring SORNA’s costs and public safety benefits. It provides an opportunity for practitioners and researchers to think creatively about how broadly to define, operationalize and ultimately measure those costs and benefits.

Tailoring Policies for Effective Sex Offender Re-entry Into Communities

Future Phases

Check out an overview of each competition phase below - complete rules for each phase will be released as the competition progresses.

Let’s Get Started.

To apply or join the program, please submit an application.