One of the interesting things about the politicization of the national crackdown on sex offenders is that the battle has, for the most part, remained a state and local endeavor. In previous and current criminal "wars," like the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, there is a strong trend towards federal involvement as the politicization of the issue increases. However, I think there are a few factors that are preventing that trend from happening in the sex offender context. First, one-size-fits-all type laws adopted at the federal level seem like poor choices for the punishment du jour for sex offenders: work and residency restrictions. Applying a law like Iowa's 2000 foot limit has a very different effect in states with dissimilar urban/rural population distribution. I think this is something we will see as Proposition 83 goes into effect in California. Second, the problem of sex offender recidivism presents very different issues for different localities. For example, see this post about the situation in Alaska, a state which currently has the highest rate of sexual assaults in the country. While we are seeing a difference in local concerns in the drug war (i.e., the meth epidemic in the Midwest), the federalization long preceded the need for tailored approaches. Third, deterring and/or rehabilitating sex offenders is often seen as an intractable problem. There are no easy or obvious answers. As a result, I think federal government intervention is often token and politically expedient, usually in the form of higher sentences for crimes that are rarely prosecuted at the federal level. Perhaps, if and when, certain criminal justice policies show better results, the federal government will take a more active role.