On December 6, 2012, the SMART Office launched the third revision of the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW). The new version of the site includes better graphics, a simpler layout, more intuitive navigation, and fresh content. The new site provides for an improved user experience regardless of the type of device accessing the site. NSOPW will now dynamically adjust to various screen sizes, greatly improving the usefulness of the site from smartphones and tablets. The site also includes a revised education and prevention section, a page dedicated to Dru Sjodin, and a link to an NSOPW page that provides instructions for linking to NSOPW in a much more appealing way.
One thing that has not changed in the new version of NSOPW is the site’s focus on national sex offender searching. NSOPW is still the only national sex offender search site that connects the public to registered sex offender information directly from the registration jurisdictions (States, U.S. territories, Indian tribes, and the District of Columbia). The search function has been improved by providing search results using an enhanced layout, dynamic loading of records to speed up results, and utilizing browser tabs so users can view multiple offender records at one time.
On December 3, 2012, the SMART Office created an NSOPW Facebook page to raise awareness about NSOPW and to provide important education and prevention information to the public. The SMART Office decided to leverage the popularity of Facebook to proactively inform the public of information about sexual offenders so that people can protect themselves and their loved ones from potential victimization.
Since its launch, the NSOPW Facebook page has increased in popularity. When on Facebook, please “like” NSOPW. Each time the page is liked or its content is shared, more people are made aware of its availability and thus people become more knowledgeable about sexual abuse awareness and prevention.
SORNA Exchange Portal
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Exchange Portal has become an integral part of the nationwide implementation of SORNA. The SORNA Exchange Portal is now used by 44 States, 3 U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 134 Indian tribes to share valuable information about registered sex offenders.
One of the most important functions of the SORNA Exchange Portal is for jurisdictions to notify each other about relocating sex offenders. The number of relocations posted on the portal has steadily increased from month to month because of increased adoption by the SORNA jurisdictions. An average of more than 500 offender relocations per month were posted on the portal during 2012, with a total of 6,133 for the year. This is a dramatic increase over the 1,619 relocations that were posted on the portal in 2011.
The functionality provided on the SORNA Exchange Portal is continuously expanded to meet the needs of the jurisdictions using it. Throughout the past year, major and minor enhancements have been added to make the portal a more valuable resource for the sex offender registry personnel who rely on it every day. Authorized users of the portal can view a list of completed and scheduled enhancements in the Portal Enhancement List section on the portal’s home page. For more information about the SORNA Exchange Portal, please visit /sorna_tools.htm#exchangeportal.
Sex Offender Registry Tool
The Sex Offender Registry Tool (SORT) continues to be made available to jurisdictions that want a fully customizable, SORNA-compliant sex offender management system and public registry website. Seven jurisdictions have capitalized on the availability of SORT, and four of them are now operating customized versions of SORT as their official sex offender management systems. The other three jurisdictions are in the process of customizing SORT and should be deploying it very soon. For more information about SORT, please visit /sorna_tools.htm#sort.
Tribe and Territory Sex Offender Registry System
The Tribe and Territory Sex Offender Registry System (TTSORS) has now been available to Indian Country and U.S. territories for 4 years. During that time, TTSORS has received numerous improvements, most of which are based on recommendations from users, and it is now much more comprehensive and user-friendly than it was when released in January 2009.
TTSORS has seen a steady increase in usage, and it is currently the sex offender management system and public registry website for 133 Indian tribes and 2 U.S. territories. Further, 97 Indian tribes and 2 U.S. territories are participating with NSOPW through their adoption of TTSORS. For more information about TTSORS, please visit /sorna_tools.htm#ttsors.
In the summer of 2011, the SMART Office recognized that information sharing between SORNA jurisdictions about relocating sex offenders needed to be improved beyond just the SORNA Exchange Portal. Many jurisdictions have so many offenders relocating in and out of their jurisdictions that a way to automate this information sharing was needed.
In the summer of 2011, the SMART Office, through its grantee, began inviting representatives from various jurisdictions to participate in a working group called the SORNA Information Sharing Working Group (SISWG). The purpose of SISWG was to develop an information exchange standard for relocating sex offenders through which technical systems could exchange information without human intervention. This type of information exchange is being used in various capacities throughout the criminal justice community. It has become so popular that a framework called the Global Reference Architecture (GRA) has been developed to govern the creation of these exchange standards.
In October 2011, the first SISWG meeting was convened with policy and technical staff attending from the following jurisdictions: California, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and the United States Marshals Service. The working group met for 2 days and discussed various issues regarding the sharing of sex offender relocation information between jurisdictions. The discussion was led by GRA subject-matter experts with vast experience in developing system-to-system information exchanges that conform to current U.S. Department of Justice standards.
The information provided during the meeting was documented in a Service Specification Package (SSP) and presented to the SISWG members during a conference call in December 2011 as the first draft of the SORNA Inter-jurisdiction Relocation Service (SIRS). The working group members provided additional information during a review process, and a second draft of the SSP was released in January 2012.
In March 2012, the second SISWG meeting was convened for the technical representatives only. During this meeting, a test implementation of SIRS was demonstrated, and the attendees discussed how to implement it in their own environments. Attendees were asked to determine what would be needed to participate in a pilot project in which multiple jurisdictions would implement SIRS in their own test systems to further validate the exchange’s capabilities and the thoroughness of the documentation provided.
Since March 2012, SIRS has been deployed in several test systems, so more documentation could be written to support the jurisdictions implementing it. The SORNA Exchange Portal is currently being enhanced so that it, too, can participate with SIRS. Once this is completed, jurisdictions will have a choice between continuing to use the portal as their only means of sharing sex offender relocation information with other jurisdictions, either manually or through the Web services, or implementing SIRS and having access to the automated information exchange. All information about relocating sex offenders, regardless of the method used, will continue to be available to all other jurisdictions through the portal.
- SMART Tools
Read the latest on the SMART Office’s technological toolsNSOPW 3.0, NSOPW Facebook page, SORNA Exchange Portal, SORT, and TTSORSand about the SORNA Information Sharing Working Group. . . . More
- SMART Funding
In Fiscal Year 2013, the SMART Office released solicitations for several of its ongoing grant programs: . . . More