The federal Adam Walsh Act it requires states to contribute to a national database of sex offenders with more current and stringent registration requirements. The Denver Post says that states and American Indian tribes are having a tough time implementing some requirements of the 2006 law – such as making the names and addresses of juvenile sex offenders available on the Internet. In Colorado, officials have met for more than a year to decide whether to comply with the law or lose $240,000 in federal funding. Some say it may be worth losing the money since it could cost more to fulfill the law’s requirements. The Justice Policy Institute, a Washington think tank that promotes alternatives to incarceration, estimates that the law would cost Colorado $7.8 million to implement.
The law was named after a 6-year-old Florida boy who was kidnapped and murdered in 1981. His father is John Walsh, host of television’s “America’s Most Wanted.” Under the law, sex offenders classified as the highest risk must update their registration every three months for life or face prosecution. The Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office has filed seven cases under the Walsh Act. Erin Runnion, whose 5-year- old daughter Samantha was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed in California in 2002, says it is essential to complete the national database. “By and large, once convicted, sex offenders move, and they move a lot,” Runnion said. “And if sex offenders move, they are going to states where states don’t keep on track, so the interstate communication is absolutely critical to knowing where they are.”