On January 11, 2011, modifications to the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) took effect. The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued the modifications “to provide guidance and assistance to jurisdictions in implementing the SORNA standards.” The modifications are intended to address issues that some jurisdictions were having putting SORNA into effect.


Part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, SORNA is a “comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States.” SORNA covers issues ranging from jurisdictions covered to what offenses require sex offender registration and from what information the offenders must disclose to the types of data available to the public about persons who have registered.

Modifications to SORNA

In response to issues encountered, the Department of Justice has implemented several modifications to SORNA, including:

  • Preventing jurisdictions from including an offender’s e-mail address or other “Internet identifiers” on public registration websites.
  • Giving jurisdictions the discretion to decide that some information about sex offenders could be left off public websites when the offender registers “on the basis of juvenile delinquency”.
  • Requiring sex offenders to report their intention to travel internationally and provide details about that travel to appropriate agencies at least 21 days prior leaving.

Additional Privacy?

For offenders, the modifications to SORNA mean a little more privacy. While having one’s name, home address and offense(s) made public on a website is difficult enough, having one’s contact information included makes matters worse. The removal of offenders’ e-mail addresses will allow them to continue to fulfill any requirements imposed on them as a condition of their conviction without the prospect of receiving unwanted e-mails from the general public.

Also, the recent modifications will allow to jurisdictions to further limit what is known about juvenile offenders. Generally, the goal of the juvenile justice system is rehabilitation; these modifications will help further that goal by keeping certain information about a juvenile’s criminal record from the public.

SORNA allows for the public dissemination of personal information of offenders, and while the 2011 modifications don’t significantly alter this, they do grant a little more privacy. If you have been accused of a sex crime, seek the guidance of an attorney experienced in sex crime matters. The appropriate attorney, who understands these complex and serious cases, can help you achieve the best results possible and seek to limit the negative effects resulting from sex crime charges.

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  1. […] Adam Walsh Act (SORNA): Federal legislation which, if adopted in New Jersey, would broadly expand sex offender registration and notifications […]

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