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Report Shows That States Struggle with Federal Sex Offender Registry Law

Five years after the Adam Walsh Act was signed by President Bush, new figures show that the majority of states fail to fulfill the requirements of the federal act. The Adam Walsh Act's main component, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is sex offender registration.

The Act expanded the list of crimes that must be tracked by the sex offender registration. In some states, the expansion resulted in a 500 percent increase in the sex offender registry. As of the July 27 deadline, only 14 states had substantially complied with the provisions of SORNA.

Many states risk a 10 percent reduction in their criminal justice funding if they do not meeting the requirements of the Act. This would represent a significant cut for criminal justice systems around the country in this down economy.

Both critics and advocates argue that the law is difficult to implement. For some states, the Act is cost-prohibitive, while other states have laws that already substantially achieve the same outcome.

Critics also say that the law will be undone by state rulings against it, which was the case in Ohio. Ohio was the first state to adopt the law in its entirety in 2007. Since 2007, there have been 7,000 legal claims against the law and its sex offender registration requirements.

Source: CNN "5 years later, states struggle to comply with federal sex offender law," Emanuella Grinberg, 7/28/2011

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