NEW JUSTICE DEPARTMENT RESOURCES HELP TRIBES REGISTER AND TRACK SEX OFFENDERS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs' (OJP) Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) is making available to Indian Country two new resources that enable tribes to easily and cost-effectively create federally compliant sex offender registration programs and public Web sites.
"Managing sex offenders in the community is an important part of a broader strategy to prevent crimes against citizens," said Laurie O. Robinson, Acting Assistant Attorney General for OJP. "These valuable tools will allow tribes to create and customize their own sex offender registration systems, while meeting the requirements of the Adam Walsh Act."
The first resource, the Tribe and Territory Sex Offender Registry System (TTSORS), is available free of charge to tribes and territories and will greatly reduce the technology burden as they are not required to stand up and host a dedicated Internet server. All that is required to use this system is a computer with internet access. The system enables agencies to provide sex offender notification to community members and automatic participation with the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, the only government registry website that links public, state, territory, and tribal sex offender registries from one national search site. Only participating tribes and territory agencies responsible for managing sex offenders will have access to TTSORS.
In addition, the SMART Office has released a Model Tribal Sex Offender Registration Code; the model language was developed with the assistance of nine respected Indian lawyers and tribal attorneys from around the country and provides tribes with Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) compliant language for tribal leaders to consider as they work to implement SORNA by the statutory deadline.
Both TTSORS and the Model Sex Offender Registry Code are designed to help Indian Country meet the requirements of Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act which aims to strengthen the national network of sex offender registration and notification programs by eliminating loopholes and gaps in prior law. The Act requires certain federally recognized Indian tribes and the principal territories to be in substantial compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act by July 27, 2009, or apply for a one year extension by that date.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, 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.