Tennessee, which was criticized earlier this year for being among the worst in the country for tracking convicted sex offenders, acknowledges that the problem has gotten worse. The Tennesseean in Nashville reports that about half of all convicted rapists, child molesters and other sex criminals in the state sexual offender registry can’t be found.
Child advocates and police called the state sex offender registry a failure in February when the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said it had lost track of 37% of offenders. The TBI last week acknowledged that the number now is about 50%.
The problem is that the law asks convicted sex offenders to voluntarily sign up on the registry and to notify the state when they change their addresses. The TBI cannot make arrests or go find these people. That’s up to local law enforcement agencies.
Tennessee may have a problem, but all states are having difficulty tracking sex offenders because police don’t have the resources to properly maintain the databases. Most states have about a 30% noncompliance rate, said Kim English, research director for Colorado Division of Criminal Justice.