Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), requires that a registered sex offender appear in person regularly to update certain registration information according to the following criteria (see 34 U.S.C. § 20918):
- Tier I offenders must appear once per year for 15 years
- Tier II offenders must appear every six months for 25 years
- Tier III offenders must appear every three months for life
A sex offender must initially register in person in each jurisdiction where he or she lives, works or goes to school. Further, SORNA requires an in-person appearance by the offender at least annually to update any photograph, physical description or other listed information. The following examples illustrate permissible means by which a jurisdiction can effectuate an in-person appearance with an offender as an alternative to the offender appearing in his or her designated sex offender registry office:
- A jurisdiction might consider an alternative reporting location if an offender lives in a remote location and the designated sex offender registry office is not accessible. In these instances, the offender may be able to complete his or her periodic in-person appearance by appearing at the local police station. These arrangements must be formalized and acceptable to the extent that the registry official has agreed to this arrangement and local police are capable of taking the required information from the offender.
- A jurisdiction might consider having local law enforcement visit the offender’s residence and use portable devices to update and confirm information with the offender.
- A jurisdiction might consider a procedure in which the offender calls in via video conferencing and a set of security validation protocols are established to verify the offender’s location and the time and date.
- A jurisdiction might consider mailing a certified reregistration form that the offender must fill out and “sign” by placing his or her fingerprints and/or thumbprints on the form. If the offender does not return the form within a specified period, or if the prints on the form, having been analyzed by law enforcement, do not match the prints of the offender, then law enforcement personnel are dispatched to the offender's residence.
The SMART Office encourages jurisdictions to work closely with SMART Office personnel to identify verification procedures that are both feasible for the jurisdiction and that serve the purposes of SORNA’s requirements.
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