Feds release nationwide sex offender registry regulation
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department announced a new regulation Monday spelling out detailed nationwide requirements for sex offender registration under a law Congress passed in 2006.
The regulation, which stems from the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, requires convicted sex offenders to register in the states in which they live, work or attend school. It details specific information that registered sex offenders across the U.S. must provide to officials.
While the law required that sex offenders provide personal information, the regulation codifies precisely what information must be provided, including name, birth date, Social Security number and specific information about travel, vehicles and professional licenses. The regulation also sets out the time required to remain on a sex offender registry, ranging from 15 years to life, depending on the offense.
Under the law, sex offenders must report any address changes and would be required to report any overseas travel. That requirement, officials say, helps law enforcement address concerns about global sex trafficking.
In passing the law, Congress left it up to the attorney general to decide how to apply the law’s requirements to those convicted of a sex offense before the law was enacted in 2006.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that Congress didn’t do anything improper when it gave the attorney general the ability to decide how to apply a sex offender registry law to more than 500,000 people convicted before the law was enacted.
The Justice Department says the regulation will help the federal government keep up to date with its national sex offender registration system.
Assistant Attorney General Beth Williams said the regulation helps further a goal by the Justice Department and Congress “of ensuring that convicted sex offenders are accounted for under the law.”
“These regulations will enhance the enforcement of registration and notification across the country and ensure that information about sex offenders in the community is available to law enforcement and the public,” Williams said in a statement.