Office of Justice Programs

Community Notification Requirements of SORNA

Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), requires that registration jurisdictions immediately provide any initial or updated information about a sex offender to entities that fall under specific categories (see 34 U.S.C. §20923(b)). Each category is addressed in turn below, with direction on how jurisdictions can substantially implement its terms.

The National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification require that immediately after a sex offender registers or updates his or her registration, a jurisdiction shall provide the information to the following:

  1. The Attorney General, who shall include that information in the National Sex Offender Registry or other appropriate databases.

    To meet this requirement, jurisdictions must immediately update any information in the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR), a subfolder of the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the direction of the SMART Office, jurisdictions may also be required to immediately forward registration information to additional databases. An example would be the forwarding of finger and palm prints to Next Generation Identification and DNA collection samples or results to the Combined DNA Index System.

  2. Appropriate law enforcement agencies, schools, and public housing agencies.

    Jurisdictions may notify these agencies by:

    1. ensuring their police departments, sheriffs' offices, prosecution offices and probation/parole offices have access to the law-enforcement portion of their sex offender registry; and
    2. utilizing an email notification system, as discussed below in 5.

    In conjunction with the SMART Office, jurisdictions may develop alternative methods for complying with this section.

  3. Each jurisdiction where the sex offender is required to register.

    To meet this requirement, jurisdictions must ensure there is a mechanism in place through which the jurisdiction transmits registration information to all other jurisdictions where an offender is required to register. This capacity must include not only states, territories and the District of Columbia, but also every federally recognized Indian tribe that has elected to operate as a SORNA registration jurisdiction.

  4. Any agency responsible for conducting employment-related background checks under 34 U.S.C. §40102(a).

    Each individual jurisdiction makes its own determination as to which agencies conduct employment-related background checks under 34 U.S.C. §40102(a). To meet this requirement, jurisdictions must check within their own governmental structure to determine:

    1. which agencies conduct such background checks; and
    2. how to ensure that those background checks will capture the registration information gathered from the sex offender by the registering agency.

  5. Social service entities responsible for protecting minors; volunteer organizations in which contact with minors or other vulnerable individuals might occur; and any organization, company, or individual who requests such notification.

    In order to meet the requirements of this category of community notification, a jurisdiction must do the following:

    1. immediately update the jurisdiction's sex offender public website when a sex offender either registers or updates his or her registration information;
    2. establish an email notification system on the jurisdiction's sex offender public website, which initiates a notification when an offender relocates (to include residence, work and/or school address) in or out of a particular ZIP code or geographic radius; and automatically emails an individual who properly registers for the notification system when such a relocation occurs;
    3. reflect the relocation on the jurisdiction's sex offender public website.

To download all of the documents, click here.

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