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About Sex Offender Registration

About Sex Offender Registration


Sex Offender Registration


Requiring a sex offender to register with their state directory deters sex offenders from committing the same crime in the future, gives investigative agencies a tool for locating repeat offenders, and increases public attention about the people in their neighborhoods.  


Legislation Addressing Sex Offender Registration


Several pieces of legislation have established standards for the registration process:


Wetterling Act


The first requirements under the Wetterling Act caused the following:


·         made offenders register for at least 10 years

·         made sure offenders knew the requirements for registration when they resided in a jurisdiction

·         required those registered to update their information after they moved

·         made sure registered address were verified regularly

·         released information to the public for public safety


Megan’s Law


This law amended the Wetterling Act in May of 1996 and allowed states to release other information to protect public safety.  The law gives states the ability to decide what information is necessary for public protection.  For example, the state may decide to release information for only those convicted of certain offenses or release information for all registered sex offenders.  The law let states notify communities through the mail, media releases, community meetings, or make the information available upon request. 


The Palm Lychner Act


This Act amended the Wetterling Act and required those convicted of an aggravated sex offense or multiple offenses to register for their entire life. 

Several other amendments were made—most notably for the National Sex Offender Registry.  In 1998, an amendment required all states to use the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR). 


Sex Offender Registration Process


Sex offenders usually need to register after they are released for their crimes or sentenced to community supervision.  The sex offender will normally have to register the local sheriff’s office or the local police department.  If the offender moves, works, or attends school in another state, the Wetterling Act requires them to register with that state as well. 


The sex offender usually has to provide their name, address, and identification number from law enforcement for the crime.  Most states require a photograph, and some states even require information like current employment information, vehicle registration numbers, and DNA analysis. 

Some states require all sex offenders to register for life, while some states only require certain offenders to register for life.  Other states require sex offender registration for 10 years or vary the length for registration based upon the class of the felony. 


Offenses that Require Sex Offender Registration


·         kidnapping of a minor or false imprisonment

·         criminal sexual conduct directed toward minor

·         solicitation of a minor

·         using a minor in sexual act

·         making a minor engage in prostitution

·         any sexual offense directed toward minor


The following states require juvenile sex offenders to register as well:


·         Alabama

·         Arizona

·         California

·         Colorado

·         Delaware

·         Florida

·         Idaho

·         Indiana

·         Iowa

·         Kansas

·         Kentucky

·         Louisiana

·         Massachusetts

·         Michigan

·         Minnesota

·         Mississippi (if convicted twice)

·         Montana

·         New Jersey

·         North Carolina

·         Oregon

·         Rhode Island

·         South Carolina

·         South Dakota (15 or older)

·         Texas

·         Virginia

·         Washington

·         Wisconsin