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House Passes Adam Walsh Reauthorization

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the original author of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, issued this statement after the House passed H.R. 3796, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2012 by voice vote last night:

"Since the law's enactment in 2006, the Adam Walsh Act has made it more difficult for sex offenders to take advantage of holes in our law enforcement system to avoid detection. Before this law, sex offenders could easily dodge law enforcement by picking up and moving across state lines; now they cannot. Reauthorization is crucial to efforts to complete, and enforce, the national network of sex offender registries. We must give our U.S. Marshals the resources they need to assist local partners in apprehending sex offenders."

"The reauthorization also incorporates solutions to some of the states' concerns regarding juvenile sex offenders. DOJ is working with states and jurisdictions to move toward substantial compliance, and to date, 50 jurisdictions have done so. This is great news and should encourage every state to move toward substantial compliance.

"It should be very clear, noncompliance will perpetuate a patchwork system that makes it easier for sex offenders to exploit holes in our system, dodge detection, and potentially harm more children. Working together, with all the states, we will have the most success in protecting our children."

Background:

Last night, the House passed the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act, which reauthorizes for five years, the Act's two key programs at levels equal with the most recent appropriation levels. Specifically, the bill reauthorizes funding for the U.S. Marshals' fugitive sex offender apprehension efforts and grants to help the states and other jurisdictions implement the national sex offender registry.

Since the law's enactment in 2006, the Marshals Service has initiated almost 8,000 sex offender investigations has either directly arrested or assisted our State and local partners with the captures of over 43,700 sex offenders nationwide, such as the recent "Operation Safety Net III" conducted last week in Pennsylvania.

A primary component of the Act is the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act ("SORNA"), which set minimum guidelines for state sex offender registries.

DOJ guidance for state implementation provides minimum requirements for "substantial compliance" with SORNA that if met, allow states to retain all Byrne funds:

* The Reauthorization codified DOJ guidelines from January 2011 that allowed states to place juveniles on law enforcement only records- not a searchable public record.

* In recognition of feedback from the states, the Reauthorization also changes the period after which a juvenile adjudicated delinquent may apply to be removed from the sex offender registry for a clean record from 25 years to 15 years.

* According to DOJ guidelines, retroactivity only applies to those sex offenders who are still in prison, are already registered under a state system, or who reenter the justice system through a subsequent conviction. Individuals convicted of sex crimes in the past that are out of jail and kept a clean record are not required to register.


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