Three years ago, Congress mandated federal standards in monitoring sex offenders. The law creates a national sex offender registry and toughen penalties for those who fail to register. As of today only one state, Ohio, has meet the new stricter federal standards.
Why are the other 49 states waiting to implement these standards? Some of the reasons are the high costs and legal challenges that are hampering implementation of these standards. There are 686,000 registered sex offenders nationwide. Advocates of these federal standards are worried that they are losing sex offenders who cross state lines and not registering as they are suppose to do.
Many of the states are struggling with the cost, which could climb into the millions of dollars.For example, in California, the state’s Sex Offender Management Board estimated last year that adopting the requirements would cost at least $38 million. However, if states don’t comply with the law, they face a loss of 10 percent of their federal crime-prevetion grants. Throw in recent stimulus funding, this could range from several hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million each year, depending on the size of the state.
July of this year was the initial deadline for states to comply but the federal government has extended the deadline to July 2010. However, many states may still be unable to meet this deadline. Estimates show that about 100,000 offenders are not living where they are supposed to be. Also many sex offenders are complaining that registering every 90 days is difficult for them because they have to take off work to register instead of registering once a year. If you are a sex offender, making you register and keeping tabs of you are more imporant than the inconvience of this mandate.