Constitutionality of sex offender registries in the United States. Sex offender registries in the United States exist at both the federal and state levels.
These registries contain information about persons convicted of sexual offenses for law enforcement and public notification purposes. All 50 states and the District of Columbia maintain sex offender registries that are open to the public via websites, although information on some offenders is visible to law enforcement only.
The majority of states and the federal government apply systems based on conviction offenses only, where the requirement to register as a sex offender is a consequence of conviction of or guilty plea to a sex offense that triggers a mandatory registration requirement. The trial judge typically can not exercise judicial discretionand is barred from considering mitigating factors with respect to registration. Sex offenders must periodically report in person to their local law enforcement agency and furnish their address, and list of other information such as place of employment and email addresses.
The offenders are photographed and fingerprinted by law enforcement, and in some cases DNA information is also collected. Registrants are often subject to restrictions that bar them from working or living within a defined distance of schools, parks, and the like; these restrictions can vary Country region state database for sexual offenders county to county and from one municipality to another.
Depending on jurisdiction, offenses requiring registration range in their severity from public urination or adolescent sexual experimentation with peers, to violent rape and murder of children. In a few states non-sexual offenses such as unlawful imprisonment requires sex offender registration.
States apply differing sets of criteria to determine which registration information is available to the public. In a few states, a judge determines the risk level of the offender, or scientific risk assessment tools are used; information on low-risk offenders may be available to law enforcement only.
In other states, all sex offenders are treated equally, and all registration information is available to the public on a state Internet site. Information of juvenile offenders are withheld for law enforcement but may be made public after their 18th birthday. The Supreme Court of the United States has upheld sex offender registration laws each of the two times such laws have been examined by them.
Several challenges to some parts of state level sex offender laws have been honored after hearing at the state level. InCalifornia became the first state in the United States to have a sex offender registration program. Prior toonly a few states required convicted sex offenders to register their addresses with local law enforcement. The s saw the emergence of several cases of brutal violent sexual offenses against children. As a result, public policies began to focus on protecting public from stranger danger.
Based on a report, prisoners convicted of rape or sexual assault who were released in were four times more likely to be arrested for a sex offense within 3 years of prison release than non-sexual offenders released within the same year. Almost half of those imprisoned for child-victim cases, offended against their own child or other relative. Recidivism studies typically find that the older the prisoner when released, the lower the rate of recidivism.
In one study of clinically diagnosed pedophiles "who targeted young boys outside the home committed the greatest number of crimes with an average of Under polygraph, many apprehended sex offenders indicated that most of their offenses were not reported.
Inan year-old boy, Jacob Wetterlingwas abducted from a street in St. His whereabouts remained unknown for nearly 27 years until remains were discovered just outside Paynesville, Minnesota in Jacob's mother, Patty Wetterlingcurrent chair of National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenled a community effort to implement a sex offender registration requirement in Minnesota and, subsequently, nationally.
States had a Country region state database for sexual offenders time period to enact the legislation, along with guidelines established by the Attorney General. Jesse Timmenquas, who had been convicted of
Country region state database for sexual offenders previous sex crimes against children, lured Megan in his house and raped and killed her. Megan's mother, Maureen Kanka, started to lobby to change the laws, arguing that registration established by the Wetterling Act, was insufficient for community protection.
Maureen Kanka's goal was to mandate community notification, which under the Wetterling Act had been at the discretion of law enforcement. She said that if she had known that a sex offender lived across the street, Megan would still be alive.
InNew Jersey enacted Megan's Law. The amendment required all states to implement Registration and Community Notification Laws by the end of Prior to Megan's death, only 5 states had laws requiring sex offenders to register their personal information with law enforcement. On August 5, Massachusetts was the last state to enact its version of Megan's Law. The most comprehensive legislation related to the supervision and management of sex offenders is the Adam Walsh Act AWAnamed after Adam Walshwho was kidnapped from a Florida shopping mall and killed inwhen he was 6-years-old.
The AWA was signed on the 25th anniversary of his abduction; efforts to establish a national registry was led by John WalshAdam's father. SORNA provides uniform minimum guidelines for registration of sex offenders, regardless of the state they live in. SORNA requires states to widen the number of covered offenses and to include certain classes of juvenile offenders. Prior to SORNA, states were granted latitude in the methods to differentiate offender management levels.
Whereas many states had adopted to use structured risk assessment tools classification to distinguish "high risk" from "low risk" individuals, SORNA mandates such distinctions to be made solely on the basis of the governing offense.
Scholars have warned that classification system required under Adam Walsh Act is less sophisticated than risk-based approach previously adopted in certain states. States apply varied methods of classifying registrants. Identical offenses
Country region state database for sexual offenders in different states may produce different outcomes in terms of public disclosure and registration period.
Sources of variation are diverse, but may be viewed over three dimensions — how classes of registrants are distinguished from one another, the criteria used in the classification process, and the processes applied in classification decisions. The first point of divergence is how states distinguish their registrants.
At one end are the states operating single-tier systems that treat registrants equally with respect to reporting, registration duration, notification, and related factors.
Alternatively, some states use multi-tier systems, usually with two or three categories that are supposed to reflect presumed public safety risk and, in turn, required levels of attention from law enforcement and the public.
Depending on state, registration and notification systems may have special provisions for juveniles, habitual offenders or those deemed " sexual predators " by virtue of certain standards. The second dimension is the criteria employed in the classification decision. States running offense-based systems use the conviction offense or the number of prior offenses as the criteria for tier assignment.
Other jurisdictions utilize various risk assessments that consider factors that scientific research has linked to sexual recidivism risk, such as age, number of prior sex offenses, victim gender, relationship to the victim, and indicators of psychopathy and deviant sexual arousal.
Finally, some states use a hybrid of offense-based and risk-assessment-based systems for classification. For example, Colorado law requires minimum terms of registration based on the conviction offense for which the registrant was convicted or adjudicated but also uses a risk assessment for identifying sexually violent predators — a limited population deemed to be dangerous and subject to more extensive requirements. Third, states distinguishing among registrants use differing systems and processes in establishing tier designations.
In general, offense-based classification systems are used for their simplicity and uniformity. They allow classification decisions to be made via administrative or judicial processes. Risk-assessment-based systems, which employ actuarial
Country region state database for sexual offenders assessment instruments and in some cases clinical assessments, require more of personnel involvement in the process.
Some states, like Massachusetts and Colorado, utilize multidisciplinary review boards Country region state database for sexual offenders judicial discretion to establish registrant tiers or sexual predator status. In some states, such as Kentucky, Florida, and Illinois, all sex offenders who move into the state and are required to register in their previous home states are required to register for life, regardless of their registration period in previous residence.
States also differ with respect to public disclosure of offender information. In some jurisdictions all sex offenders are subject to public notification through newspapers, posters, email, or Internet-accessible database.
However, in others, only information on high-risk offenders is publicly available, and the complete lists are withheld for law enforcement only. Under federal SORNAonly tier I registrants may be excluded from public disclosure, with exemption of those convicted of "specified offense against a minor.
Disparities in state legislation have caused some registrants moving across state lines becoming subject to public disclosure and longer registration periods under the destination state's laws. Laws restricting where registered sex offenders may live or work have become increasingly common since In addition, hundreds of counties and municipalities have passed local ordinances exceeding the state requirements,   and some local communities have created exclusion zones around churchespet storesmovie theaterslibrariesplaygroundstourist attractions or other "recreational facilities" such as stadiumsairportsauditoriumsswimming poolsskating rinks and gymnasiums, regardless of whether publicly or privately owned.
The report also found that laws preclude registrants from homeless shelters within restriction areas. Restrictions may effectively cover entire cities, leaving small "pockets" of allowed places of residency. Evidence to support the effectiveness of public sex offender registries is limited and mixed. In fact, a number of negative unintended Country region state database for sexual offenders have been empirically identified that may aggravate rather than mitigate offender risk.
to a study, the majority of the general public perceives sex offender recidivism to be very high and views offenders as a homogeneous group regarding that risk. Consequently, the study found that a majority of the public endorses broad community notification and related policies.
Critics of the laws point to the lack of evidence to support the effectiveness of sex offender registration policies. They call the laws too harsh and unfair for adversely affecting the lives of registrants decades after completing their initial sentenceand for affecting their families as well. Critics say that registries are overly broad as they reach to non-violent offenses, such as sexting or consensual teen sex, and fail to distinguish those who are not a danger to society from predatory offenders.