July 2009 is the deadline for states to enact the Adam Walsh Act. This Act is a federal uniform sex offender law that each state needs to abide by. However, no state thus far has enacted this law due to major obstacles that states face in the cost of implementing the program, the retroactive nature of the Act, problems with posting juvenile offenders and the language that over-generalizes sex offenses.
The Adam Walsh Act was signed into law in 2006 by President Bush and gave states three years for compliance. However, no universal guidelines were developed until 2008. The Act creates a national standard in classification and reporting requirements for those convicted of a sexual offense. Named after the son of John Walsh, from America’s Most Wanted show, creates a national standard in classification and reporting requirements for those convicted of sexual offense. If the states enact this law it will allow for proper control of sex offenders who move across state lines and help reduce the confusion in reclassifying offenders because of various state laws.
Since the Act was signed, states have asked for extensions because of problems implementing the law. For example, the cost to update databases, the retroactive nature of the law, mandatory posting of juvenile offenders and over-generalization of sex offenses are some of the problems that the states are encountering.
Even though states may have problems enacting the Adam Walsh Act, it is important that these lawmakers work hard to get it enacted to help keep our kids and our communities save from sex offenders.