U.S. Sex-Offender Registration Laws

Registration of sex offenders in the U.S. began with the 1994 Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act. The Wet- terling Act required sex offenders to register with the appropriate law enforcement officials, usually local police. The Wetterling Act, however, did not require information to be released to the public. That would come later.

The federal Megan's Law was enacted in 1996 and required that information about sex offenders be released to the public. The Pam Lynchner Sex Offender Tracking and Identification Act was enacted in 1996, requiring a national sex- offender registry (National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR)). Subsequently, in 2006, the Adam Walsh Act, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), was enacted. Also, in 2006, the name of the National Sex Offender Registry was changed to the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Registry. This encompassed a national registry where anyone could seek information about registered sex offenders, regardless of where the offenders lived.

 
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