National Sex Offender Registry

Topics: Sex offender, Sex offender registration, Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act Pages: 15 (3794 words) Published: April 29, 2014
National Sex Offender Registry
“Sex offenders are the scourge of modern America, the ‘irredeemable monsters’ who prey on the innocent” (Logan, 1999, p.1167). The colossal number of sex crimes is rapidly expanding across the United States and with it a wake of innocent victims. This expansion and increased victimization called for reform and demanded protection for the innocent. This protection came in the form of a new criminal justice policy, the sex offender registration. “In the United States, offender registration was first used in the 1930s” as a means of banishing the unwanted offenders (Matson, Lieb & Feinberg, 1999, p. 1). In 1947 a registration statute was enacted in the state of California in efforts to reduce recidivism among sex offenders while at the same time making their presence known to law enforcement agencies and the public but the continuous rise in offenses triggered a ratification of this enactment (Sample and Kadleck, 2008). “The 1990s ushered in an unprecedented amount of sex offender legislation” in an attempt to combat this overwhelming lack of social control we as Americans are faced with (Sample and Kadleck, 2008, p. 40). The newly mandated federal and state laws enacted the policy for a sex offender registry. “In 1994, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (Title XVII of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994)” (Matson, et al., 1999, p.1). This significant piece of legislation mandated that states create and maintain a registry of the violent sex offenders who committed crimes against children. The legislation also requires the offender to maintain and update their personal information, such as address and place of employment, for a minimum of 10 years after their release from prison. In addition, if the offenders were considered sexually violent they were required to update their personal information with the registry on a quarterly basis (Matson, et al, 1999). By 1996, 49 of the 50 states adopted a version of the federal Megan’s Law, “which mandates the release of information collected through state programs that require the registration of sex offenders if the information is ‘necessary to protect the public’” (Reid, 2009, p. 536). Today all 50 states have adopted some version of this law. Laws or Acts such as the Community Protection Act, Megan’s Law, The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety ACT, the Jessica Lunsford Act, the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control ACT (SPPCA) and the Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act, just to mention a few, are attempts by legislators and policy administrators and managers at protecting the innocent while combating the dilemma of sex crimes in America. These legendary legislations and statutes ultimately led to the creation of the National Sex Offender Registry we have in place today. The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW), a national sex offender registry monitored and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and coordinated by the Department of Justice, manages the names of over 700,000 sex offenders in the United States alone. This website collectively houses the names of registered sex offenders from the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Territories of Guam, Northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico and 31 Indian Tribes in one single, easily accessible location that allows members of the general public to search and locate, free of charge, information regarding known sex offenders (“Sex Offender”, n.d.). Accessible information includes but is not limited to items such as the offenders’ name, current offense, address, employer, photo with physical description, and vehicle license plate number (Williams, 2010, p. 1). “Sex offender registration statutes are promoted as a means of: 1) deterring offenders from committing future crimes; 2)...

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Matsen, S., Lieb, R., and Feinberg, D. (1999, October). Sex offender
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Sample, L.L. and Kadleck, C. (2008). Sex offender laws: Legislator’s
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