We evaluated the efficacy of sex offender residence restrictions in Michigan and Missouri using a quasi-experimental design with propensity score matching. First, we examined the implementation of the laws and found that sex offenders in both states were less likely to live in restricted areas after the implementation of the laws than the prerestriction sample, but the differences were not statistically significant. In our outcome analysis, we find little evidence that residence restrictions changed the prevalence of recidivism substantially for sex offenders in the postrelease period. In Michigan, trends indicate that the implementation of the laws led to a slight increase in recidivism among the sex offender groups, whereas in Missouri, this effect resulted in a slight decrease in recidivism. Technical violations also declined for both groups in Missouri. The small effect sizes, inconsistent results across states, and the null results between sex offender and non–sex offender models cast doubt on the potential usefulness of the laws to influence individual patterns of recidivism broadly.
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