Note: This article was initially posted on July 27 and updated on July 28
Seven more states have come into substantial compliance with the Adam Walsh Act ahead of today’s deadline, and the Department of Justice said there would likely be more once other reviews are completed.
Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina, Missouri and Alabama all established sex offender registries that the Office of Sex Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending and Tracking (SMART) deemed this week to be in line sufficiently with the guidelines created by the Walsh Act. The compliant registries eventually will feed into a national sex offender registry.
Among other things, states were required to include juvenile sex offenders who were convicted of certain serious offenses, although states could also include a wider range of juvenile offenders if they chose to do so.
States have voiced a number of concerns with the act’s requirements concerning sex offender registries. Among them: including juveniles, retroactively including offenders and tying inclusion on the registry to what an offender pleaded guilty to or was found guilty of, as opposed to placing the decision in the hands of a judge.
Four additions – Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland and Alabama – were mentioned in a general information part of the SMART website by July 27. The other three newly compliant states were included in a press release today.
The seven new states bring the number of compliant states to 14. Michigan, Nevada, and Wyoming were deemed compliant in May. Delaware, Florida, Ohio and South Dakota have all been compliant for more than a year.
It could be a month or more before all the states deemed compliant before today’s deadline are known. They were required to submit final packages to the SMART Office by today, said SMART spokeswoman Kara McCarthy, and a number of states completed the process at the last minute.
States that did not comply will be subject to a 10 percent cut to their Byrne Justice Assistance Grants from the Justice Department. However, they can apply to use the JAG money they were penalized to fund activities related to Walsh Act compliance.