A lack of cash and philosophical objections have kept Colorado law enforcement agencies from implementing federal rules that would require more criminals to register as sex offenders for longer periods of time, says the Denver Post. Complying with the federal Adam Walsh Act by July 1 would bring Colorado close to $500,000 in federal grant money. Opponents argue that it will cost far more than that federal grant amount to comply with the rules. A national chorus of state government groups and research institutions has raised concerns about the way the federal law treats juvenile offenders, potential constitutional conflicts and data showing sex-offender registration doesn’t prevent repeat offenders.
Says Laurie Kepros, who oversees sexual offenses for the state public defender office, “It’s just not going to be cost-effective, and does it do us any good in terms of public safety?” Congress passed the law in 2006 in an attempt to organize hundreds of sex-offense statutes in 50 states into three uniform categories that indicate the crimes’ severity. The legislation establishes registration and reporting standards for those categories — in many cases more stringent than state requirements — and compels local law enforcement to do more to communicate with other jurisdictions when offenders are on the move. Colorado’s Sex Offender Management Board in 2008 advised against compliance with the federal law, but nonetheless acknowledged the benefits of a single, unified reporting and tracking system. Though the federal government has pushed for five years for states to tighten reporting requirements, so far only four have complied: Ohio, South Dakota, Florida, and Delaware.