Tracking Offenders Departing and Entering the Country

When the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) was enacted and its Final Guidelines were published, the U.S. Department of Justice was tasked with creating a tracking system for sex offenders who depart and reenter the United States. To that end, the SMART Office created the International Tracking of Sex Offenders Working Group in 2008, which has been working to enable appropriate information sharing about sex offenders who either intend to travel or are travelling internationally. This proposed system is outlined in a white paper made available to Congress in December 2010.

The SMART Office has recently provided a number of tools to enable federal, tribal, state, and local law enforcement to more effectively supervise and interdict sex offenders. With regard to the international travel of sex offenders, the SMART Office has developed, in conjunction with Passport Services of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, a fact sheet on the process for denial, revocation, or limitation of a U.S. Passport that explains how law enforcement can work directly with the State Department to ensure that sex offenders who meet certain specific conditions may be prevented from obtaining a U.S. passport or can have their U.S. passports officially revoked.

The U.S. National Central Bureau (USNCB) of INTERPOL is also able to receive from any law enforcement entity direct notifications about offenders who either intend to travel or are travelling internationally. USNCB also has a process through which it determines whether a green notice (issued to warn about subjects who are a possible threat to public safety or may commit a criminal offense), informal notification, or other action is warranted based on the information it receives. USNCB has processed more than 3,000 of these requests over the past few years. In addition, USNCB immediately notifies the appropriate U.S. law enforcement agencies upon receiving information that any foreign sex offender is traveling to the United States.

The working group will be finalizing the tracking system itself, which will be housed in the National Sex Offender Targeting Center of the U.S. Marshals Service. Within the next 6 months, the working group will endeavor to make it possible for notifications to be sent directly to the appropriate state or local registry officials when any registered sex offender departs the country. For example, if an offender currently registers in Wisconsin and is screened upon departure on an international flight out of Chicago's O'Hare Airport, the appropriate Wisconsin authorities would be notified of that screening. These notifications will be expanded in the future to cover registered sex offenders entering the country as well.

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  • Tracking Offenders Departing and Entering the Country
    When SORNA was enacted, the U.S. Department of Justice was tasked with creating a tracking system for sex offenders . . .  arrow More
  • 2011 National Workshop
    The SMART Office held its 2011 National Workshop on SORNA in the District of Columbia, January 10–11.  . . .  arrow More