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Spotlight on the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART)

July 2008

The Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) was created in 2006 when the President signed the “Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006” into law.

The Adam Walsh Act established the SMART Office to provide guidance to states, local governments, territories, and Indian tribes regarding the implementation of the Act and specifically Title I of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

On July 1, 2008, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey released the National Guidelines on Sex Offender Registration and Notification. These Final Guidelines, designed to assist jurisdictions with their SORNA implementation efforts, will be published in the Federal Register on July 2, 2008. Following the public comment period on the Proposed Guidelines, the SMART Office reviewed the more than 275 comments received and incorporated several suggestions in the Final Guidelines. In conjunction with the release of the Final Guidelines, the SMART Office published a set of frequently asked questions about the Final Guidelines and Fact Sheets to explain significant changes from the Proposed Guidelines, including revised minimum registration requirements for juvenile sex offenders.

The SMART Office also manages the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Web site. This system provides real-time access to public sex offender data nationwide with a single Internet search query. The Department-sponsored Web site allows parents, concerned citizens, and employers to easily search multiple public state and territory sex offender registries beyond their own jurisdiction.

In addition, the SMART Office provides grants as well as training and technical assistance to assist jurisdictions in the registration, notification, tracking, and monitoring of sex offenders.

At the end of April 2008, the SMART Office awarded more than $11 million in funding to state, local, and tribal governments. This funding will be used to create or enhance sex offender registration programs, improve law enforcement and other justice agency information sharing as it relates to sex offender registration and notification, and collect, store, and link sex offender biometric data or submit for analysis DNA data for investigative purposes.

Later this month, the SMART Office will host its 2008 National Symposium (July 30-August 1, 2008) on Sex Offender Management and Accountability. The symposium will bring together state and federal lawmakers, top state, local and tribal government officials, policy advisors, law enforcement, parole and probation officers, prosecutors, and frontline professionals who monitor, register, track, and manage sex offenders. The symposium also will include special tracks focusing on policy, enforcement, emerging issues, and topics related specifically to tribal governments and sex offender management in Indian Country.

For more information on the SMART office, visit the SMART web site.

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