Issue: Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act
The federally mandated registration and notification procedures may impact the state courts that have administrative responsibility for probation.
No formal position
In July 2006, Congress passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (PL-109-248).
The legislation requires sex offenders to register in jurisdictions where they reside, work, and attend school. Sex offenders are also required to periodically report in-person to verify the correctness of their information on file or update it. The frequency upon which they must periodically report and the length of time for which they must remain registered is controlled by the type of sex offense for which they were convicted. The legislation also creates a uniform, national registration database on the Web and specifies information about the sex offenders that must be gathered about the sex offenders and the information that must posted on the Web.
The registration and notification requirements apply to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and federally recognized Indian tribes. Jurisdictions that do not “substantially” comply with the SORNA requirements by 7/27/09 can be penalized through a reduction in their Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program funds.
The Office of Justice Programs, through its Sex Offender, Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) Office, issued draft guidelines in May 2007 to assist jurisdictions in implementing the SORNA requirements. The guidelines detail the minimum national standards for registration and notification and provide guidance on the sex offender registration and notification policies.The final SORNA guidelines were published in the Federal Register on 7/2/08. The final guidelines included a number of clarifications. The most significant clarifications were regarding registration of juvenile delinquents and the determination of tiers related to the elements of the offense at conviction and related to pre-SORNA offenses.