Scholarly Research Articles Understanding

The writers of this paper use evaluative research as a method to support their claims. According to Maxfield and Babbie (2017), evaluation research in criminal justice is utilized for things like figuring out how a policy, like arresting people who commit domestic abuse, or new sentencing laws, affects the community. Vandiver, Dial, and Worley (2008) conducted this study to determine the impact of the sex offender registry on female offenders. Additionally, Vandiver et al. attempted to document the operation of the sex offender registry as part of the present evaluation research's process evaluation focus. An impact evaluation was also conducted is aspects such as how registering as a sex offender affected the women’s access to employment, housing as well as maintaining relationships with family members. In general, this research fits the criteria for evaluation research.

Question Two

The authors also conduct an extensive literature review which reveals several results. Notably, the literature review indicates several characteristics associated with female sex offenders. These include the fact that most of them were abused as children, drug and alcohol also contribute to their crime, and they may have brain damage. Additionally, the literature review also shows the female sex offenders engage in inappropriate relationships with younger males whom they have a caretaking role. Indeed, some of the female sex offenders have been found to engage in incestuous relationships with their sons and daughters. Moreover, the literature review also looks at the laws that regulate sex offenders which include the Wetterling Act as well as Megan’s Law which resulted to the public sex offender registry. Other laws also indicate that sex offenders are limited in terms of where they can live of work. The location of sex offenders in status such as Florida and Missouri is also monitored over their lifetime (Vandiver et al., 2008).

The literature review also shows that female sex offenders were impacted through several ways once they were included in the public registry. For example, they have been assaulted and their property damaged by aggressive members of the public. Additionally, some women have been denied housing and lost their jobs as a result of being a sex offender (Vandiver et al., 2008). Literature reviews play a significant role in empirical research studies. Firstly, literature reviews assist authors in identifying possible gaps in knowledge. Besides, literature reviews ensure that the authors select the appropriate methodology by comparing with previous studies. The other significance of literature reviews is that they ensure researchers are up to date with information about what has already been done on their area of interest. In general, researchers have to ensure that they conduct extensive literature reviews to ensure that their research is based on given perspectives.

Question Three

The central research question in this article is to find out the impact of the public sex offenders registry on the lives of female sex offenders. Although the authors do not have a hypothesis, they examine the impact in terms of obtaining housing and employment, incorporating themselves back to society. Additionally, the authors also focus on how the female sex offenders maintain their relationships with family members as well as friend (Vandiver et al., 2008).

Question Four

The article is based on Braithwaite’s theory of crime, shame and integration. In the theoretical framework, the authors assess the degree to which the processes described in the theory apply to female sex offenders. The theory outlines concepts such as re-integrative shaming which occurs when members of society put in place measures to integrate offenders back into the community. More often, the offenders will be forgiven once they have completed their sentences and given a clean slate to start their lives. Additionally, the theory also brings out the aspect of stigmatization for he offenders whereby the offenders are denied opportunities to earn a living due to their past. The integrative elements proposed by the theory include that with government officials, family and friends, obtaining employment and avoiding stigmatization as this will affect the offenders self-esteem (Vandiver et al., 2008). In general, this article provides a theoretical basis for establishing the effects of the public sex offender’s sex registry of female sex offenders.

Question Five

In terms of research design, the authors employed a descriptive research design whereby they conducted in-depth interviews with the participants. The process of collecting data began by identifying women who were listed as sex offenders in the states of Texas and Illinois. In total, 43 women were identified in Illinois while 12 women were in Texas. Invitation letters were sent to the women informing them of the purpose of the study even though only nine responded; five from Illinois and four from Texas respectively. The participants were aged between 31 and 64 and five of them were employed at the time of the study. Interviews were employed as the primary method of data collection; the interviews were recorded and later transcribed for analysis (Vandiver et al., 2008). In essence, the study adopted a qualitative approach to collect data.

Question Six

The study comprises of three key variables which include description of offense, judicial processing characteristics, and consequences of registration. The first variable was measured by asking the participants on the circumstances surrounding their arrest and whether they denied or acknowledged their wrongdoing and who reported them. Moreover, the second variable was measured by asking the participants on whether they had an attorney, plea bargain as well as whether the courts sent them for mandatory treatment. The last, variable, on the other hand, was measured by participants responding to questions such as the impact that being registered had on their employment and housing prospective, and interpersonal relationships as well as their attitudes towards registration (Vandiver et al., 2008). Generally, each of these measurements provided the authors with an opportunity to achieve the overall goal of the study.

Question Seven

The results of the study indicate that the women committed various offenses that led to their arrests. The offenses include child pornography and indecency with a minor; the victims were often close to the offenders. As a result of these offenses, one participant indicated that they had lost their children to protection services as she was considered to be a threat to the minors. In terms of judicial processing characteristics, a majority of the participants worked with a public defender. However, all the participants reported that the legal assistance they received was sufficient. The other result of the study indicate that majority of the participants accepted a plea bargain instead of going to trial. Moreover, offenders who opted for trial were sentenced to up to eight years in prison. Additionally, the other results of the study indicate that even though some of the women attended court mandated sex offender treatment, they did not gain anything from it as it mostly targeted men. Due to their offences, the women reported that they had varied experiences in prison. Moreover, the women supported the existence of the public sex offenders’ registry as it helps law enforcement solve several crimes.

However, the participants indicated that their inclusion of the sex offenders’ registry had affected their lives in several ways. The results indicate that the personal relationships of the women had been affected; they lost both family and friends, and some of them were disowned by churches. Additionally, the results also indicated that the women also found it hard to secure employment of housing due to their crimes (Vandiver et al., 2008). In essence, these results reveal that the authors achieved the specific purpose of their study.

Question Eight

I would rate the internal and external validity of the current research as medium. Indeed, the researchers ensured internal validity by conducting the interview in carefully controlled conditions. Moreover, the small number of participants also ensured that there was internal validity in the research. However, there is presence of historical events and maturation which limited the external validity of the study. For example, the events in each of the participants’ lives could have affected the way in which they responded to the questions asked (Withrow, 2016). In general, I believe that validity was ensured by the researchers in the current study.

Question Nine

One of the primary ethical concerns I have about the current study is the vulnerability of the participants. Some of the participants had already been to prison and this made them vulnerable in the society. Moreover, I also have a concern on the informed consent obtained from the participants before they agreed to participate in the study. Inde, d, the authors fail to explain extensively the process followed in obtaining informed consent. The other ethical concern in the current study is whether the privacy and confidentiality of the participants were guaranteed due to the identification of the states which they came from. According to Vito, Kunselman, and Tewksbury (2014) it is the researchers role to ensure that personal information of the participants is kept private. However, I find issue with the authors assertion that few women were in the offenders register in Texas as this can lead to their identification.

Question Ten

One of the main implications of this study is that the public sex offenders’ registry impacts on the offenders live. It is therefore essential that the offenders are assisted to find work and housing once they successfully complete their sentences and probation. The other implication is the treatment program should find a way of incorporating programs that assist women as the current programs are more male-oriented as the participants reported hence they did not gain much. Furthermore, repeat offenders and those who violate their probations should be given longer sentences so as to deter them from further crime. No changes should be made to the current policy of sex offenders’ registry as it has proved to be effective for law enforcement officials. Any changes should focus on protecting vulnerable population such as children who as often the target of sex offenders. In general, the sex offenders’ registry should continue to exist


Maxfield, M. G., & Babbie, E. R. (2017). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology. Nelson Education.

Withrow, B. L. (2016). Research methods in crime and justice. Taylor & Francis.

Vandiver, D. M., Dial, K. C., & Worley, R. M. (2008). A qualitative assessment of registered female sex offenders: Judicial processing experiences and perceived effects of a public registry. Criminal Justice Review, 33(2), 177-198.

Vito, G. F., Kunselman, J. C., & Tewksbury, R. (2014). Introduction to criminal justice research methods: An applied approach. Charles C Thomas Publisher.

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