DoJ Proposes Legislation For National Sex Offender Database

The Department of Justice has published proposed regulations that provide a clear and comprehensive statement of sex offenders’ registration requirements under the Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

The SORNA proposal requires convicted sex offenders to register in the states in which they live, work, or attend school, and it directs the Attorney General to issue regulations and guidelines to implement this nationally.

SORNA sets up a new layer of enforcement, whereby sex offenders who move across state lines can’t get lost in the system.

The Justice Department’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (“SMART Office”) administers the national standards for sex offender registration and notification under SORNA and assists all jurisdictions in implementing the SORNA standards in their programs.

More consistent adherence to these requirements will enable registration and law enforcement authorities to better track and monitor released sex offenders in the community and enhance the basis for public notification regarding registered sex offenders that SORNA requires.

This proposal would mean that a National standard for the registration requirements of sex offenders would be established and connected to the offender’s home state and will track the offenders movements, including travel abroad, in an attempt to cut down on sex crimes against women and children across the globe.

“These regulations will enhance the enforcement of registration and notification across the country and ensure that information about sex offenders in the community is available to law enforcement and the public.”, said Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy Beth A. Williams.

Congress enacted SORNA as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 to strengthen the nation’s sex offender registration programs, which exist in every state, and to ensure that sex offenders are effectively tracked as they move among jurisdictions.

SORNA includes requirements regarding the sex offenses for which registration is required and the information sex offenders must provide to registration authorities; reporting of changes in, and periodic verification of, residence and other information; and the required duration of registration for sex offenders in different classes.

SORNA also requires sex offenders to report travel abroad, which addresses the global concern over international sex tourism and trafficking.

The proposed regulations’ clear and comprehensive statement of registration obligations under SORNA will promote the effective enforcement of SORNA’s requirements. By these means, the proposed regulations will further SORNA’s objective of protecting the public from sex offenders by establishing a comprehensive national system for the registration of such offenders.

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