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The National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification

The National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification published on

Authored by U.S. Department of Justice

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA” or “the Act”), which is title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-248), provides a new comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. These Guidelines are issued to provide guidance and assistance to covered jurisdictions-the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the principal U.S. territories, and Indian tribal governments-in implementing the SORNA standards in their registration and notification programs.

The adoption of these Guidelines carries out a statutory directive to the Attorney General, appearing in SORNA § 112(b), to issue guidelines to interpret and implement SORNA. Other provisions of SORNA establish the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (the “SMART Office”), a component of the Office of Justice Programs of the U.S. Department of Justice. The SMART Office is authorized by law to administer the standards for sex offender registration and notification that are set forth in SORNA and interpreted and implemented in these Guidelines. It is further authorized to cooperate with and provide assistance to states, local governments, tribal governments, and other public and private entities in relation to sex offender registration and notification and other measures for the protection of the public from sexual abuse or exploitation. See SORNA § 146©. Accordingly, the SMART Office should be regarded by jurisdictions discharging registration and notification functions as their key partner and resource in the federal government in further developing and strengthening their sex offender registration and notification programs, and the SMART Office will provide all possible assistance for this purpose.

The development of sex offender registration and notification programs in the United States has proceeded rapidly since the early 1990s, and at the present time such programs exist in all of the states, the District of Columbia, and some of the territories and tribes. These programs serve a number of important public safety purposes. In their most basic character, the registration aspects of these programs are systems for tracking sex offenders following their release into the community. If a sexually violent crime occurs or a child is molested, information available to law enforcement through the registration program about sex offenders who may have been present in the area may help to identify the perpetrator and solve the crime. If a particular released sex offender is implicated in such a crime, knowledge of the sex offender’s whereabouts through the registration system may help law enforcement in making a prompt apprehension. The registration program may also have salutary effects in relation to the likelihood of registrants committing more sex offenses. Registered sex offenders will perceive that the authorities’ knowledge of their identities, locations, and past offenses reduces the chances that they can avoid detection and apprehension if they reoffend, and this perception may help to discourage them from engaging in further criminal conduct.

Publication Date:
Oct 17 2014
1502865963 / 9781502865960
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5″ x 11″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Law / General


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