The Office of the Inspector General provided a draft of this report to the Office of Justice Programs for its comments. OJP’s response is included in Appendix VIII of this report. The OIG’s analysis of the OJP’s response is discussed below.
Summary of the OJP Response. OJP agreed with the contents of the report as they relate to OJP’s SMART Office, and provided clarifications on two statements in the draft. First, OJP responded to footnote 41[now footnote 40, page 30]. The footnote states that, “The Executive Director for the National Congress of American Indians said the SMART Office’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification guidelines provide no indication of the process that will be used to assess tribal compliance.” OJP stated that the SORNA guidelines clearly state that once a tribe files a resolution to become a registration jurisdiction, the tribe is under the same obligations as a state and that tribal compliance will be based on the same substantial compliance standards as set out in the guidelines. Second, OJP responded to the third paragraph on page 59 of the report, which stated, “For sex offender registries to be helpful, it is important that they provide the information the public needs to assess the threat posed to them by different sex offenders. Victim information could be useful for this purpose because sex offenders often have victim preferences.” OJP agreed with these statements, but said that it is important to note that an offender with a preference may deviate from that preference for any number of reasons.
OIG Analysis. The OIG made minor edits to the draft report to incorporate some of OJP’s clarifying statements. Regarding OJP’s comment on footnote 41 [now footnote 40, page 30], written testimony provided by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) on July 17, 2008, before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs presented NCAI’s concerns regarding the procedure for addressing tribal compliance. Specifically, the tribes were concerned over the Attorney General’s authority to delegate a tribe’s authority under SORNA to the state if the Attorney General determined that a tribe is not in compliance with the Act. The NCAI described this delegation of authority as having “potentially serious consequences” and further stated that “the DOJ guidelines provide no indication of the process that will be used by the Attorney General to assess tribal compliance and make this delegation.” Although we incorporated OJP’s statement that tribal compliance will be assessed in the same manner as states and territories, this does not fully respond to the concerns raised by the NCAI.