The Doc Project

Exiled in the U.S.: studying sex offenders at the Boardwalk Motel

The process of reintegrating sex offenders into society is a mess — and ignoring it isn't helping anyone. Researcher Chris Dum wanted to study the situation, but he didn't just visit and interview the offenders; he lived with them, in a motel, for a year.
The Boardwalk Motel is located in upstate New York.


Even in prison, there's a group of people more reviled than any other. 

This group? The lowest of the low. Sex offenders. The thing is, sex offenders don't stay in jail. Most of them, eventually, are released. And in America, the process of reintegrating them into society is a mess. And ignoring this mess isn't helping anyone.

Listen to a censored version of this week's documentary

Chris Dum was preparing for his doctoral studies when he made the decision to study sex offenders. But not from a distance; he wanted to go to where they lived. This group in particular was in a motel, kind of like a halfway house, in upstate New York. And Chris didn't just visit and interview them. He lived with them — in the motel — for a year.

A quick note, Chris' university made him change all the names in his project including the names of the town he goes to, and the motel where he stays. It's how research ethics work when you study a vulnerable population. We agreed to maintain this anonymity.

About the producers

Gordon Katic
Gordon Katic is co-host of Cited, a documentary radio program about research and higher education. He has produced radio documentaries about the myth of the American "Superpredator," a fight over how to teach Canadian history, and the push for sex ed reform in Ontario. Gordon is taking a MA in journalism at the University of British Columbia.
Sam Fenn
Sam Fenn is co-host of the Cited podcast. He has produced radio documentaries about a Japanese American baseball player during the Second World War, the rise and fall of Vancouver's world-class drug policy, and a weekend festival for Christian teens. Sam has a MA in history from the University of British Columbia.
Alexander B. Kim
Alexander Kim is a journalist and radio producer based in Vancouver. He is a producer for Cited and an associate producer for CBC Radio. He has reported for CBC Aboriginal, Arctic Deeply, Discourse Media, and Canadian Psychiatry Aujourd'hui. He is also the host and producer of Theoretically Speaking, a podcast about absurd science.