Sex Offender Registry: National and state links

Prior to 1994, only a few states required sex offenders to register their address and personal information with local law enforcement agencies. By 1996, however, Megan’s Law was created, as a subsection of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (the Wetterling Act). Megan’s Law is a federal law that requires convicted sex offenders to register their personal into the National Sex Offender Registry, as well as the correct local registry.

At state level, each local agency determines what information is provided by each sex offender. Generally, most states require offenders to provide their name, address, photo, offense, and length of incarceration. At federal level, each offender must inform law enforcement of any change of employment or address.  Yet, despite the strict requirements, a number of sex offenders were still failing to register.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Child Safety Act of 2006

In July 2006, The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Child Safety Act of 2006 became a federal law to help ensure all sex offenders comply with their local law enforcement agencies. Under the Adam Walsh Act, convicted sex offenders are at risk of felony charges if they fail to register and/or update their information with law enforcement. The act also established the SMART Office, which helps guide jurisdictions and assists in enforcing the rules of the Adam Walsh Act. It also helps states, tribes, local government, and territories with technical assistance, and keeps abreast of the latest sex offender legal developments and management of sex offenders.

By State:

[Featured Photo by Bill Whittaker/Creative Commons]