SORNA Substantial Implementation Update: States, Territories, and the District of Columbia
The SMART Office has received and reviewed a tremendous amount of information and material from the States, territories, and the District of Columbia on their progress toward substantial implementation under § 16925 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 U.S.C. § 16901 (Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006). To date, the SMART Office has received and reviewed substantial implementation packages from 39 States and territories as well as numerous partial or preliminary drafts and submissions. The SMART Office has determined that 16 States and 3 territories have substantially implemented SORNA.
SMART Office staff are continuing to assist non-implementing States and territories as jurisdictions work toward substantial implementation. With a focus on each jurisdiction’s particular obstacles to further implementation, staff have spoken to and met with representatives of the legislative and executive branches in many jurisdictions. In these communications, SMART staff have clarified SORNA’s requirements and the steps that each jurisdiction needs to take. In addition, the staff have encouraged jurisdictions to submit proposed legislation, policies, and procedures for legislative consideration so that those jurisdictions may know in advance whether and how the legislation will further their progress toward substantial implementation.
Beyond providing individualized assistance to jurisdictions, SMART Office staff are creating and refining technological tools to facilitate jurisdictions’ further implementation. The SORNA Exchange Portal now has a standardized International Travel Notification form that collects information about a registered sex offender’s international travel plans. Jurisdictions can fill out and submit this form directly from the portal to the U.S. Marshals Service National Sex Offender Targeting Center.
The SMART Office is providing other new and updated tools as well. The office has updated its SORNA Implementation Documents, a series of documents that further define and provide guidance on SORNA’s requirements. Specifically, SMART Office staff have updated documentsfor the submission of fingerprints and palm prints, and for collecting information on sex offenders traveling internationallyto comport with the updated protocols. In addition, the SMART Office released a document this summer, titled Sex Offender Registration and Notification in the United States: Current Case Law and Issues. This document provides an overview of sex offender registration and notification laws in the United States as well as SORNA’s requirements regarding registration and notification. In so doing, it reviews the significant federal and State legal decisions pertaining to sex offender registration and notification and, in particular, SORNA’s requirements.
Finally, the Government Accountability Office issued a report in February 2013 that details the work of the SMART Office and the jurisdictions’ efforts to implement SORNA. It is available for review at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-211.
For more information about how the SMART Office is assisting jurisdictions registering with SORNA, visit the SMART Office website at www.smart.gov.
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