Registered Sex Offenders: Social Disorganization and Lived Experiences
AuthorGordon, Karen Elizabeth
AdvisorZavisca, Jane R.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractUsing data from the Arizona public sex offender registry (SOR) and interview data from 30 registered sex offenders (RSOs), two probation officers, and one homeless shelter worker, this study addresses RSO housing experiences by placing RSOs at the center of the analysis. First, using a framework of social disorganization, I find RSOs are moderately segregated according to the index of dissimilarity, and tend to reside in areas characterized by lower than average median income and higher than average housing vacancies. The presence of RSOs is another indicator of social disorganization for these neighborhoods. Second, I identify issues faced by RSOs as they search for housing and the strategies they use to obtain housing. Commonly used strategies are being upfront and honest, using the assistance of friends and family members, and finding housing through private owners. Third, I assess the extent to which the RSO label operates to deter interactions or serves as the basis of harassment. Findings indicate that the RSO label can limit interactions between RSOs and others living near them. It also motivates avoidance particularly among those living in areas of low and moderate social disorganization. Many RSOs or their co-habitants have also experienced harassment due to the RSO label. These findings are problematic in terms of RSO reintegration. Lastly, I explore RSO assessments of the SOR. Many RSOs indicate concern over whether the SOR makes all RSOs appear the same. I offer a social process model in which I consider the process of labeling, stereotyping, and discrimination along with the potential for those who are stigmatized to seek out a basis to stigmatize others or distance themselves from others they perceive of as worthy of separation. I conclude by offering policy implications that are focused on the needs of communities and RSO reintegration issues.
Degree ProgramGraduate College