Review of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2009-001
December 2008
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix IV
Office of Legal Policy Adam Walsh Act
Implementation Memorandum

U. S. Department of Justice
Office of Legal Policy

Assistant Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530
August 3, 2006



FROM: Rachel L. Brand
Assistant Attorney General

SUBJECT: Implementation tasks and suggested timelines for implementing the
provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006

As you requested, I am providing a summary of the provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109-248, and a proposed timeline for their implementation by the Department. The provisions are listed in the order in which they appear in the law and not by importance, ease of implementation, or need for timeliness. Following the initial section-by-section listing, this memorandum provides a listing broken out by proposed timelines.

Section-by-Section Listing

Section 112(b) - Requires the Attorney General to issue guidelines and regulations to interpret and implement the new sex offender registration and notification standards. The Office of Legal Policy (OLP) probably will have to draft the new guidelines and regulations, as it bas done ill the past, unless the Sex Offender Sentencing, 'Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking Office (SMART Office) created by the law in Section 146 can be quickly set up to handle this requirement. Timeline: Six months.

Section 119(a) - Directs the Attorney General to maintain the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR). NSOR has existed for about a decade, but changes may be required by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Criminal Justice Information Systems Division to accommodate the Act's expanded range of registration information. Timeline: Six months.

Section 119(b) - Directs the Attorney General to ensure, through NSOR or otherwise, that updated information about sex offenders is immediately transmitted by electronic forwarding to all relevant jurisdictions. Timeline: Three years with possible two-year extension; this requirement should be understood as part of contemplated state functions subject to the deadline established in Section l24.

Section 120 - Establishes the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website. The web site in question already exists and is operated by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (, but some modification may be needed to conform to the Act's requirements, including geographic radius searches. Timeline: Six months.

Section 122 - Requires notice to the Attorney General and appropriate law enforcement agencies concerning registration violations, and directs the Attorney General and other agencies to take any appropriate action to ensure compliance. Implementation of this section should be merged with implementation of federal assistance for registration enforcement under Section 142.

Section 123 - Directs the Attorney General, in consultation with the states, to develop and support software to enable the states to carry out the Act's sex offender registration and notification requirements. Software development should be managed by the SMART Office with input from FBI, the National Institute of Justice, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Timeline: Statutory deadline of two years for first complete edition or the software.

Sections 124-25 - Require the Attorney General to set deadlines for state compliance with the new sex offender registration and notification standards and requires a reduction of 10 percent in a state's Byrne Grant for noncompliance. Deadline: Per the statutory provisions, the Department is required to effect the funding reduction in case of noncompliance after three years, subject to up to two one-year extensions the Attorney General may grant. The SMART Office will be responsible for facilitating and determining compliance.

Section 126 - Directs the Attorney General to establish a Sex Offender Management Assistance ("SOMA") grant program, to defray state costs of implementing the new sex offender registration and notification standards.
Timeline: Should be administered by the SMART Office, beginning in the first fiscal year for which funding is appropriated.

Section 127 - Creates provisions for the treatment of Indian tribes as registration jurisdictions or the delegation of such functions to the states. The SMART Office should work on implementing these provisions with the tribes, with help from the Office of Tribal Justice. Timeline: The statute requires election by tribes within one year of enactment of the Act, so the SMART Office needs to turn its attention to these provisions promptly upon appointment of its director.

Section 128 - Directs the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, to create a system for informing states about persons entering the United States who are required to register. This function is logically within the area of responsibility of the SMART office. Timeline: Six months from setting up of SMART Office.

Section 141 - Updates the federal failure-to-register offense and the registration conditions for federal supervision; increases the related penalties; updates the release notice and registration provisions for federal and military offenders. The Criminal Division, Bureau of Prisons, federal probation offices (through the Administrative Office of the US Courts), and the Defense Department (for military offenders) should develop appropriate implementation/guidance for these provisions, with assistance from OLP. Timeline: The parts affecting federal sex-offender supervision conditions and release notices require immediate attention because they may affect federal offenders currently being placed under supervision or released from custody.

Section 142 - Requires the Attorney General to use federal law enforcement resources, including the Marshals Service, to assist states in locating and apprehending sex offenders who violate sex offender registration requirements. Timeline: Three months for the FBI and the Marshals Service to submit a joint plan to employ their resources to meet the new responsibility.

Section 143 - Authorizes Project Safe Childhood. Will require cooperative implementation by United States Attorneys' offices, Criminal Division, FBI, and OJP components. Timeline: Already being implemented; one month to evaluate whether the law requires any changes to the current implementation of PSC.

Section 144 - Directs the Attorney General to provide assistance to states in identifying and locating sex offenders relocated as a result of major disasters. The development of a plan to achieve the requirements of the provision is logically within area of responsibility for SMART Office. Timeline: Six months from the establishment of SMART Office to develop the plan.

Section 145 - Directs the Attorney General to expand training and cooperative activities relating to Internet crimes against children and to deploy child exploitation tracking technology. This provision relates to activities that are now mainly coordinated by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, but the responsibilities of the SMART Office and the Bureau of Justice Assistance may also be implicated. Timeline: The statute implicitly sets a time frame of less than a year by requiring a report to Congress not later than July 1, 2007, on the activities carried out under the section, therefore a plan to provide the training ought to be developed within three months of the establishment of the SMART Office so that training may begin within six months.

Section 146 - Establishes, the SMART Office, whose statutory functions include administering the new sex offender registration and notification standards; administering grant programs relating to sex offender registration and notification and other grant programs under the Act as directed by the Attorney General; cooperating with and assisting state and local governments and other entities in relation to sex offender registration and notification and other measures to protect children and others from sexual abuse or exploitation; and performing such other functions as the Attorney General may delegate. The SMART Office is placed within OJP; the Director of the Office is appointed by the President, without Senate confirmation. Considering the key role contemplated for the SMART Office in carrying out much of the Act, getting it operational should be a high priority. Timeline: 30 days.

Sections 151 and 153 - Increase access by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and child protection agencies to national crime information databases (Section 151) and by child welfare agencies and educational agencies and schools to national crime information databases (Section 153). Implementation should be by FBI/CJIS in consultation with OLP. Timeline: Six months.

"Title II (§§ 201-216) - Make various reforms in federal criminal law and procedure, including, inter alia, increasing penalties for violent crimes against children and sex offenses, allowing serious federal sex offenses to be prosecuted without limitation of time, and restricting pretrial release for defendants charged with sex offenses against children. The Criminal Division should develop guidance for implementation. Timeline: Three months.

Section 301 - Directs the Attorney General to make grants for effective state civil commitment, programs for sexually dangerous persons. The SMART Office should logically administer this program. Timeline: Should be administered in first fiscal-year for which funding is appropriated.

Section 302 - Strengthens civil commitment provisions for mentally disordered or abnormal sex offenders subject to federal jurisdiction. The Criminal Division and Bureau of Prisons should develop appropriate guidance and implementation with input from US Attorneys through the Attorney General's Advisory Committee. Timeline: Three months.

Section 502 and 503 – Revise record-keeping requirements for producers of sexually explicit materials to ensure verification of age of performers. The provisions will require OLP to revise the existing regulations under 18 USC 2257 and to create new regulations to cover simulated performances under newly enacted 18 USC 2257A. Timeline: Three months for Section 502; six months for Section 503.

Sections 601-05 - Authorizes grants by OJJDP for Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentoring programs. Sections 611-17 - Extends police athletic league program (administered by OJP). Timeline: Should be administered by OJP/OJJDP in fiscal years for which funding is appropriated.

Section 621 - Authorizes the Attorney General to make grants for electronic monitoring of sex offenders. Administration of this program would most logically be assigned to the SMART Office. Timeline: Should be administered when funding is first appropriated for the program.

Note: We are publishing the first three and a half pages of the memorandum in this appendix because they deal with the SORNA provisions of the Adam Walsh Act that we reviewed. We omitted the remainder of the 13-page memorandum because it discussed sections of the Adam Walsh Act not covered by our review.


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