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Tracking Sex Offenders: Federal Law, Resources Have Led to Marked Improvement of State Registries, But More Work Is Needed

NCJ Number
255622
Date Published
Author(s)
National Institute of Justice
Agencies
NIJ
Publication Type
Article
Annotation
This article presents results from an NIJ funded effort to measure States’ progress in implementing the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), particularly in the areas of standards implementation and information sharing within and between states and with the Federal government.
Abstract
Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), enacted to redress state-level asymmetries and deficiencies by creating comprehensive national standards for sex offender registration. The Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) oversees the implementation of SORNA. The National Institute of Justice recently supported research, in collaboration with the SMART Office, to measure states’ progress implementing SORNA, particularly in the areas of standards implementation and information sharing within and between states and with the federal government. The research concluded that, overall, substantive improvements to the states’ policies on sex offender registration and notification have brought disparate systems into closer alignment. However, a number of states were found to have fallen short in several areas, due in part to the rising number of offender registrations. The researchers reported many states have run into barriers preventing them from substantially implementing all SORNA standards, due to resource constraints, incompatible state or local laws, a lack of requisite legislative will, or a combination of factors.
Date Created: November 12, 2020