U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs

Proposed Guidelines for Implementing Adam Walsh Act Are Announced

Regina B. Schofield, June 2007

On May 17, 2007, Attorney General Gonzales announced proposed National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification as required by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. He also announced $25 million in assistance for communities to implement the Adam Walsh Act and to take other steps to guard against sex offenders. Both the Guidelines and the funding are being administered by a new component of OJP, the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) Office. The SMART Office was authorized by the Adam Walsh Act and is being led by Laura Rogers.

Improving coordination and information sharing between jurisdictions will make it more difficult for sex offenders to successfully abscond and avoid fulfilling their registration obligations. Under the new law, sex offenders who abscond now face mandatory state penalties and may face federal penalties.

In addition, new registry standards will allow citizens to search online for sex offenders who live, work or attend school in their jurisdiction and allow for more useful ways to search for these registered sex offenders. With access to comprehensive registries, parents, caregivers and children are empowered to identify potential dangers in their communities. Schools, daycare centers, and other child serving organizations will automatically be notified of sex offenders registered in the areas they serve. These new standards also ensure that local law enforcement agencies can monitor sex offenders by requiring that sex offenders register when they move into, become employed or attend school in the communities they protect.

We at OJP are proud to partner with states, territories, the District of Columbia, Indian tribes and local communities as they continue to develop and strengthen their sex offender registration and notification programs. For more information about the proposed Guidelines and sex offender registries, please visit the SMART Office web page.

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