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DOJ Works With Jurisdictions To
Comply With Sex Offender Act
January 13, 2011 - Laurie O. Robinson, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, opened the 2011 National Workshop on the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
provides an opportunity for the Department of Justice to further assist
jurisdictions who are working to implement reliable and effective sex
offender registration and notification systems in conformance with the
Adam Walsh Act," said Assistant Attorney General Robinson."
More than 240 SORNA jurisdictional representatives from states, territories and tribes gathered to participate in a workshop designed to further assist jurisdictions in their efforts to implement SORNA, Title I of the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, before the final deadline of July 27, 2011.
The SORNA Workshop was convened by the Justice Department's Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). Coinciding with the Workshop was the Department of Justice's release of supplemental guidelines for SORNA. The SORNA Supplemental Guidelines address, among other things, public notification of juveniles adjudicated delinquent for serious sex crimes, the posting of sex offender information, such as email addresses and other Internet identifiers, and reporting of international travel requirements.
addressed in the Supplemental Guidelines include on-going review of
SORNA implementation, the sharing of information across jurisdictions,
and the application of SORNA to newly federally-recognized Indian
tribes. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is a federal
statute that was signed into law by U.S. President George W. Bush on
July 27, 2006. The Walsh Act organizes sex offenders into three tiers
and mandates that Tier 3 offenders (the most serious tier) update their
whereabouts every three months with lifetime registration requirements.
Tier 2 offenders
must update their whereabouts every six months with 25 years of
registration, and Tier 1 offenders (which includes minors as young as 14
years of age) must update their whereabouts every year with 15 years of
registration. Failure to register and update information is a felony
under the law.
The Act also
creates a national sex offender registry and instructs each state and
territory to apply identical criteria for posting offender data on the
Internet (i.e., offender's name, address, date of birth, place of
employment, photograph, etc.). The Act was named for Adam Walsh, an
American boy who was abducted from a
The Adam Walsh Act emerged from Congress following the passage of separate bills in the House and Senate (H.R. 3132 and S. 1086 respectively). The Act is also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), the majority of the provisions of which were enacted as 42 U.S.C. §16911 et seq. The act’s provisions fall into four categories: a revised sex offender registration system, child and sex related amendments to federal criminal and procedure, child protective grant programs, and other initiatives designed to prevent and punish sex offenders and those who victimize children.
The sex offender
registration provisions replace the Jacob Wetterling Act provisions with
a statutory scheme under which states are required to modify their
registration systems in accordance with federal requirements at the risk
of losing 10% of their Byrne program[clarification needed] law
enforcement assistance funds. The act seeks to close gaps in the prior
system, provide more information on a wider range of offenders, and make
the information more readily available to the public and law enforcement
In the area of
federal criminal law and procedure, the act enlarges the kidnapping
statute, increases the number of federal capital offenses, enhances the
mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment and other penalties that attend
various federal sex offenses, establishes a civil commitment procedure
for federal sex offenders, authorizes random searches as a condition for
sex offender probation and supervised release, outlaws Internet date
drug trafficking, permits the victims of state crimes to participate in
related federal habeas corpus proceedings, and eliminates the statute of
limitations for certain sex offenses and crimes committed against
The act revives
the authorization of appropriations under the Police Athletic Youth
Enrichment Act among its other grant provisions and requires the
establishment of a national child abuse registry among its other child
provision, even prisoners who have never been previously charged with or
convicted of a sex crime may be civilly committed after completing their
entire prison sentence. Prior to Supreme Court Review, the federal
Circuit courts were split on the question of whether Congress had the
authority to enact this provision. On May 17, 2010, the Supreme Court
upheld the law, and ruled in United States v. Comstock that the Civil
Commitment Provision was within Congress‘s authority.
At the time of
passage, at least 100,000 of more than a half million sex offenders in
the United States and the District of Columbia were 'missing' and
unregistered as required by law. The act allocated federal funding was
to assist states in maintaining and improving these programs so a
comprehensive system for tracking sex offenders and alerting communities
would be developed.
The Adam Walsh
Child Protection and Safety Act was signed on the 25th anniversary of
the abduction of Adam Walsh from a shopping mall in
also founder of the
These included Patty Wetterling, children's advocate from Minnesota and mother of missing child Jacob Wetterling, abducted in October 1989; Mark Lunsford, whose daughter Jessica was killed in Florida in 2005; Linda Walker, the mother of North Dakota college student Dru Sjodin who was kidnapped and murdered by a released Minnesota sex offender in November 2003; and Erin Runnion, whose five-year-old daughter Samantha Runnion was raped and killed in California in 2002.Other News Stories
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