PA Embraces Federal Sex Offender Law; Most States Still Not Complying


Pennsylvania and the Virgin Islands have agreed to implement the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) part of the 2006 Adam Walsh law, says the U.S. Justice Department. Sixteen states, 3 territories and 36 tribes are in compliance. States and territories had until July 27, 2011 to implement SORNA or face a 10 percent cut in their federal aid under the Byrne anticrime grant program. All but five places (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Nebraska, and Texas) got permission to reallocate their withheld funding to activities aimed at implementing SORNA, said the Justice Department’s Linda Baldwin.

The problem is that the states and territories in compliance account for fewer than one-third of all registered sex offenders, and nearly 24 percent of offenders are from the five states that did not apply for funding reallocation to comply with the federal law. With most state legislative sessions over for this year, no other states are on the verge of complying with SORNA, and thus there is no prospect of a national sex offender registry anytime soon, more than six years after passage of the Walsh law, says Susan Frederick of the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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