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Abstract

The sex offender registry currently lists over half a million U.S. citizens as sex offenders. Modern day legislation directed toward sex offenders was born in an era of public fear and rash decision-making. Terrible consequences have since been identified as resulting from the labeling of sex offenders via the registry. These unintended consequences socially, economically, and psychologically influence the lives of sex offenders. Labeling theory states that individuals who are given a label eventually subscribe to that label; in other words, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the case of sex offenders, this can only mean more damage to society. This paper examines how the registry reproduces labeling and how sex offenders are consequently damaged by their given label. GPS tracking and treatment through the Good Lives Model are offered as contemporary solutions to the ever-growing problem.