Sex Offender Risk Levels

Although all convicted sex offenders are required to register, only those deemed to have a high likelihood to re-offend are subject to widespread notification.

Prior to the release of a sex offender, a group of corrections officials called an “End of Confinement Review Committee”(ECRC) assigns the offender to a level of 1, 2, or 3, which indicates how likely they are to re-offend. Once a level is assigned, information about the offender is sent to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the location where they intend to reside. Based on the risk level of the offender, who the offender is likely to encounter and any patterns of victimization the offender has demonstrated in the past, law enforcement will determine who should be notified. Law enforcement must follow guidelines that limit the scope of disclosure for each risk level.

Risk Levels

Note that these risk levels are determined based on a variety of offender characteristics and past behavior. It is not possible to predict with certainty the future behavior of another person.

The offender has a lower risk of re-offending.

  • Law enforcement may share information about these offenders with other law enforcement agencies.
  • Law enforcement may notify victims or witnesses who have requested disclosure.

The offender has a moderate risk of re-offending.

  • In addition to Level 1 notifications, law enforcement may share information about Level 2 offenders with staff members of organizations that serve those likely to be victimized by the offender such as schools and daycares.
  • Law enforcement may also notify individuals likely to be victimized by the offender as determined by examining the offender’s past patterns of behavior and victim preferences.

The offender has a higher risk of re-offending.

  • Law enforcement may share information with any other member of the public likely to encounter the offender.

Things To Consider

  • Most child molesters and sexual predators target victims they already know. Offenses by strangers do happen, but they are much more rare.
  • Level 3 sex offenders are considered most likely to re-offend, but they are also the most intensely monitored. They must check in regularly with law enforcement, and generally the community knows what the offender looks like and where they live.
  • Sex offenders usually offend many times before being caught. Focusing on the one offender you know about leaves you blind to the ones you may not recognize.