Scott Matson, Senior Policy Advisor
Scott G. Matson serves as a Senior Policy Advisor in the SMART Office for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. Mr. Matson advises 18 states and the District of Columbia on adopting the standards for the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). In addition, he leads the Office efforts on the development of the Sex Offender Management and Planning Initiative, including content planning for the National Symposium on Sex Offender Management and Accountability. Mr. Matson also provides training and technical assistance on matters related to sex offender registration, notification and other sex offender management issues to the SORNA jurisdictions as well as to national, state and local government entities and advocacy organizations.
Prior to joining the SMART staff, Mr. Matson was a program manager at the JEHT Foundation where he developed and managed a criminal justice portfolio of more than 60 grantees on issues such as sentencing and corrections policy, reentry, wrongful convictions, and the death penalty. Prior to joining JEHT, Mr. Matson was the associate director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections. In this role, Mr. Matson developed and delivered policy recommendations, research, and planning assistance to support the efforts of policymakers and practitioners in Alabama, Colorado, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Ohio to improve sentencing and corrections practices. He also designed and managed a 50-state scan and survey of sentencing practices, legislation, and treatment and reentry programs for sex offenders.
Prior to joining Vera, Mr. Matson served as a research associate at the Center for Effective Public Policy’s Center for Sex Offender Management. In this role, he provided training and technical assistance to a wide range of international, national, state, and local audiences on issues related to sex offender management. This involved interpreting and applying research findings on topics such as risk assessment, treatment, supervision approaches, information sharing and collaboration, registration, community notification, and police interaction with communities about sex offender related issues. Additionally, Mr. Matson authored several reports on approaches to compliance with the Federal Jacob Wetterling Act and Megan’s Law, as well as other sex offender related topics.
Mr. Matson began his career at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy, where he had the opportunity to evaluate not only the State’s compliance with the Wetterling Act, but also to survey all 50 states’ efforts to comply with the Act and present these findings to the Washington State Legislature. Later, he surveyed officials in all states about their efforts to comply with Megan’s Law and made recommendations to the Legislature on how to enhance Washington State’s policy. He presented these findings to Attorney General Janet Reno in 1998, who was at the time searching for methods to inform and educate communities about sex offenders and sexual offending.
Mr. Matson provided consultation to the U.S. General Counsel’s Office in preparing its 2003 case before the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Megan’s Law in Alaska and Connecticut. In 2006, he was invited by the Japan National Police Academy to advise the Tokyo and Nara prefecture police on Megan’s Law and other practices used to combat sexual violence in the United States. He is considered a subject matter expert on issues related to sex offender management and has appeared in the NY Times, USA Today, NPR, and numerous local media outlets. Mr. Matson earned an M.A. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland, College Park and a B.A. in sociology from Western Washington University.