SORNA Implementation Update

The SMART Office has received information from nearly all States and territories and the District of Columbia regarding their progress toward substantial implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 16925(a) (Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006). To date, the SMART Office has provided full substantial implementation reviews for 33 States and territories as well as numerous partial or preliminary reviews and has determined that 15 States and 2 territories substantially implemented SORNA by the July 27, 2011, statutory deadline. (See SORNA Implementation in Indian Country for information on tribal jurisdictions.)

SMART Office staff continue to work with the remaining States and territories to address their obstacles to implementation. The office has reviewed the jurisdictions' proposed legislation and policies so that they may know in advance whether those statutes or policies will further their progress toward substantial implementation. In person and on the phone, SMART Office staff have also provided technical assistance to jurisdictions whose legislators and executive branch representatives are unsure of what substantial implementation entails or what steps they must take to substantially implement SORNA.

Beyond these responses for assistance from individual States and territories, the SMART Office is working continually to develop and improve tools designed to facilitate jurisdictions' progress toward substantial implementation. The office has created various documents to assist jurisdictions, including a substantial implementation checklist that outlines in detail many of SORNA's requirements and a series of documents titled Topics in SORNA Implementation that further define and provide guidance on SORNA's requirements. In addition, the SMART Office helped to develop supplemental guidelines for SORNA, which complement the national guidelines released in 2008.

The SMART Office has also created technological tools to assist States and territories. The Sex Offender Registry Tool and the Tribe and Territory Sex Offender Registry System allow States and territories to establish SORNA-compliant registry databases and public registry websites. The SORNA Exchange Portal enables registration personnel to share information online, within and outside of their jurisdictions, through discussion boards, document and file sharing, event calendars, historical statutes databases, and Offender Relocation Tasks, the latter of which allows one jurisdiction to notify another of an offender's relocation.

In addition to these activities, the SMART Office participates in conferences and training events to educate registry, policy, and law enforcement officials about SORNA's requirements. Most recently, SMART Office staff participated in a webinar sponsored by the National Criminal Justice Association, during which SMART Office Director Linda Baldwin provided information on SORNA-related legislation and practices that have been found to sufficiently address SORNA's requirements. In addition, the SMART Office hosts a National Symposium on Sex Offender Management and Accountability. For more information about this symposium, which will be held this August in New Orleans, Louisiana, please visit the SMART Office website in the coming months.

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