The Texas Department of Public Safety plans to update its online sex offender registry this spring to let people know where offenders work or go to school. The move is part of a site overhaul, reports the Austin American-Statesman. The registry update, which is to include conviction history and other elements in addition to employer and school information, will cost the state $1.2 million and be paid for with federal grant money.
Anyone can go to the state’s site to look up a person by name or ZIP code. The information includes physical descriptions, photos, offenses, aliases and legal status. People also can use a map to find sex offenders who live in a particular neighborhood. When the registry is revised, sex offender records will also show complete registration histories, former addresses and conviction information in Texas and out of state. If a sex offender has an occupational license, that will show up, too. That provision complies with a 2007 state attorney general opinion that said people should have access to such information. Other states can include sex offenders’ employers in registration records, but only three do: Missouri, Maine and Alaska.