International Tracking of Sex Offenders Working Group
When the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) was enacted and its final guidelinesNational Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notificationwere 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 2008a multiagency initiative that enables appropriate information sharing about sex offenders who either intend to travel or are travelling internationally. The working group has developed a number of tools over the past year that will allow federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement to more effectively supervise, monitor, and interdict offenders who travel internationally.
In January 2011, Supplemental Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification were announced. Among other matters that they address, the guidelines require that jurisdictions capture certain information about the international travel plans of registered sex offenders 21 days prior to that travel taking place. The SMART Office subsequently issued SORNA Implementation Document 15Notice of International Travelwhich includes a list of information that must be gathered and describes how jurisdictions can send that information to the National Sex Offender Targeting Center (NSOTC) of the U.S. Marshals Service.
NSOTC, working in conjunction with the SMART Office and the U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL, has developed the Notification of International Travel of Sex Offender form to facilitate the transfer of this international travel information. See International Travel Form in this issue for more information.
In addition, the SMART Office submitted a proposal to the advisory policy board of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services Division to authorize the development of the automatic notification procedure described in the International Tracking of Sex Offenders Working Group: White Paper. In December 2011, the proposal was approved and is now awaiting final approval from the director of the FBI. Once the proposal is implemented, local registering agencies and NSOTC will receive an automatic notification from the National Sex Offender Registry whenever a registered sex offender is screened by the Department of Homeland Security upon entering or departing the United States. These notifications will enable local and federal law enforcement officials to have real-time information, which will facilitate their overall sex offender monitoring strategies.
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