National Sex Offender Registry Assistance Program

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), U.S. Department of Justice, started the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) Assistance Program to help states comply with federal sex offender registration and community notification laws. NSOR is part of the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP).

Background
Three federal statutes require states to establish and maintain sex offender registration and notification programs: The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, "Meganís Law" and the Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act.

An additional federal law, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248), was signed by President Bush in July 2006. The law significantly expands efforts to monitor sex offenders in the community and establishes financial penalties for states that do not meet deadlines to comply with its provisions.

Among those provisions are requirements for each state and territory to maintain sex offender registries and to provide public Internet access to registry information except for certain confidential information, including the victimís name and offenderís Social Security Number.

The Act also makes registration requirements more stringent, increasing the amount of information the offender must supply to the registry and requiring offenders to re-register more frequently. Penalties have been increased for those who do not comply with registration requirements, and mandatory minimum sentences have been extended for those who commit certain offenses against victims who are under age 18.

The Adam Walsh Act also establishes a funding program for the states to offset implementation costs. States that meet certain compliance deadlines may receive bonus payments.

Internet Used
All states maintain publicly accessible online sex offender registries, although the sites vary in information they make accessible. The Adam Walsh Act, described above, requires states to meet minimum standards for information provided over online sex offender registries.

More information on state-maintained sex offender Web sites is accessible through the links below.