The purpose of this meta-analysis was to review the empirical research studies pertaining to the enactment of sex offender residency restrictions and its impact on recidivism. The intended purpose for residency restrictions is to limit the distance an offender can reside in proximity to schools, parks, playgrounds and daycare facilities. These residency restrictions were implemented as a safe guard to prevent sex offenders from residing in close proximity to where children typically gather (Chajewski & Mercado, 2009; During, 2006; Melroy, Miller & Curtis, 2008; Mercado, Alvarez & Levenson, 2008; Zgoba, Levenson & McKee, 2009). There has been a limited number of evidence-based research on if sex offender residency restrictions are an extenuating factor in deterring recidivism. In addition, do these restrictions create a negative residual effect, therefore increasing recidivism? Do these restrictions create additional consequences for the offenders and their families?

When individuals exit the prison system, they may have difficulty finding housing due to felony records and landlord reluctance. The obtainment of housing can become even more difficult when citizens are classified as sex offenders. These residency restrictions can limit the options for housing especially in the rural context (During, 2006; Yung, 2007). Lester (2010) states that the residency restrictions limiting proximity “seems like a quick and simple fix to the perceived recidivism problem. [The] communities that have restrictions of 2,000 feet essentially block out all the urban areas as the overlapping bubbles leave few reasonable places to reside” (p. 6). Do the strict residency restrictions for sex offenders invoke consequences that initiate behaviors that lead to recidivism? The goal of this evaluation is to examine the evidence-based research of these restrictions for a demonstrated increase or decrease in factors leading to recidivism, or if it does not have any impact.


David Beimers

Date of Degree




Document Type

Other Capstone Project


Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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