We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Registering Harm: A briefing book on the Adam Walsh Act

Nov. 2008:

The Adam Walsh Act explained:
Enacted by Congress in 2006, the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) requires that states participate in a national sex offender registry and establishes comprehensive minimum standards for registration and community notification. The AWA explicitly requires lifetime registration of children for certain offenses. States that choose to comply with the requirements of the AWA risk losing a percentage of federal funding.

But states will have to pay far more to implement the Adam Walsh Act than they will receive in federal funds. Sex offender registries have existed for decades, but before the Adam Walsh Act, none placed such an enormous fiscal burden on state budgets or specifically targeted children for inclusion on a national, public registry. Among other measures, the Adam Walsh Act does the following:
  • Requires the registration of children who are age 14 or older for certain offenses
  • Increases the number of offenses for which an individual must register
  • Requires people to provide more extensive registration information, including photos
  • Expands the amount of information available to the public regarding people on the registry
  • Makes the registry retroactive — under certain conditions, individuals convicted of sex offenses prior to the AWA’s passage will be required to register even though the Act was not in
    effect at the time of their conviction
  • Requires states to criminalize a failure to register and provide a criminal penalty
The AWA also establishes the federal Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SM ART ) Office to set guidelines for registering people convicted of sex offenses, develop software for the registry, and assist state, local and tribal governments in implementing their registries.

The SMART Office also helps states enact registry provisions that are far more restrictive than those required by AWA.

A communication from SMART makes this clear: “jurisdictions should consider AWA minimum requirements as a floor, not a ceiling. Jurisdictions are free to implement regulations that are stricter than what AWA requires.”1

The Adam Walsh Act requires states to comply with these requirements by 2009. If state’s fail to do so they will lose 10 percent of their Byrne Grant funds.

The Edward Byrne Memorial State and Local Law Enforcement Assistance Grant Program (Byrne Formula Grant Program) is a federal program established by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 that awards grants to state and local governments for “personnel, equipment, training, technical assistance, and information systems for more widespread apprehension, prosecution, adjudication, detention, and rehabilitation of offenders who violate such state and local laws.”2

In the past, Byrne grants have funded questionable crime fighting tactics like drug task forces and SWAT-style raids. ..Continued.. by The Justice Policy Institute

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