SMART OFFICE ANNOUNCES NEARLY $4.3 MILLION IN GRANTS
TO ENHANCE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY AND NOTIFICATION PROGRAMS
Grants are Announced as the Department Launches National Crime Prevention Month
and Celebrate Safe Communities Initiative
WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced nearly $4.3 million in grant assistance for states, territories and units of local and tribal governments for use in creating and/or enhancing sex offender registry and notification programs. These grants, administered by OJP’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART), will help state, local and tribal governments implement provisions of the Adam Walsh Act.
“This funding will enhance crime prevention efforts and help create a system where there is no corner of our country in which convicted sex offenders can hide without the local community being aware of their presence,” said Laura L. Rogers, Director of the SMART Office. “Increased awareness will help us protect our kids, teens and vulnerable adults and prevent sex offenders from victimizing more people.”
Funding will be used to develop or enhance sex offender registration programs; improve law enforcement and other justice agency information sharing as it relates to sex offender registration and notification; develop or enhance local absconder apprehension efforts; collect, store, and analyze sex offender biometric and DNA data for investigative purposes; and implement other efforts aimed at furthering the objectives of Title I of the Adam Walsh Act, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).
The Adam Walsh Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on July 27, 2006 and is designed to protect children and vulnerable adults from sexual exploitation and violent crime. The Act also aims to prevent child abuse and child pornography, promote Internet safety, and honor the memory of Adam Walsh and other crime victims. SORNA was enacted to protect the public from convicted sex offenders and offenders against children by establishing a comprehensive national system for the registration and notification to the public of those offenders.
Today’s announcement comes as the Department begins its new crime prevention initiative, Celebrate Safe Communities (CSC). In partnership with the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) and the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), OJP is promoting the new event throughout the country, October 2 - 4.
October is Crime Prevention Month and CSC observes the month by spotlighting communities’ crime prevention efforts, enhancing public awareness of vital crime prevention and safety messages, and recruiting year-round support for ongoing prevention activities that help keep neighborhoods safe from crime. Today’s funds are intended to assist in those efforts as they relate to sex offenses.
More information on Celebrate Safe Communities can be found at http://www.celebratesafecommunities.org, and more information about the SMART Office grants announced today can be found at http://www.ojp.gov/smart.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey L. Sedgwick, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). More information can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.