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SMART General FAQs

How can I get technical assistance?

The SMART office provides technical assistance to states, the District of Columbia, units of local government, territories, tribal governments, and other public and private entities related to sex offender registration and notification, and the protection of children and adults from sexual molest, assault, and exploitation.

For technical assistance from the SMART office, please email or call 202-514-4689.

When is the compliance date for my jurisdiction?

The Adam Walsh Child Protection Act of 2006 was signed into law on July 27, 2006. Section 124 of the AWA specifically requires that all jurisdictions implement the SORNA requirements within 3 years: July 27, 2009. Section 125(a) allows for a 10 percent Bryne Justice Assistance Grant fund reduction for any state, the District of Columbia, or territory that fails to substantially implement the SORNA requirements by July 27, 2009. Failure to substantially implement will be considered on an individual basis by the Attorney General. Section 124(b) provides for the Attorney General to authorize up to two 1-year extensions of the implementation deadline. Requests for extensions will be considered on a case by case basis.

According to §126(a) of the AWA, the Attorney General shall establish and implement a Sex Offender Management program (SOMA) under which the Attorney General may award a grant to a jurisdiction to offset the costs of implementing SORNA. Section 126(c) allows for bonus payments to states, the District of Columbia, territories, and federally recognized Indian Tribes that promptly comply and implement the SORNA standards. The bonus award shall be 10 percent of the total received by the jurisdiction under SOMA program for the preceding fiscal year if the implementation is not later than July 27, 2007 or 5 percent if the implementation is not later than July 27, 2008.

My jurisdiction does not have a tier system as outlined in AWA §111, must a tier system be instituted?

No. SORNA establishes a national baseline for sex offender registration and notification programs. It constitutes a set of minimum national standards and sets a floor, not a ceiling, for jurisdiction programs. For example, a jurisdiction may have a system that requires registration by broader classes of convicted offenders than those identified in SORNA, or that requires in addition registration by certain classes of non-convicts (such as persons acquitted on the ground of insanity of sexually violent crimes or child molestation offenses, or persons released following civil commitment as sexually dangerous persons). A jurisdiction may require verification of the registered address or other registration information by sex offenders with greater frequency than SORNA requires, or by other means in addition to those required by SORNA (e.g., through the use of mailed address verification forms, in addition to in person appearances). A jurisdiction may require sex offenders to register for longer periods than those required by the SORNA standards. A jurisdiction may require that changes in registration information be reported by registrants on a more stringent basis than the SORNA minimum standards (e.g., requiring that changes of residence be reported before the sex offender moves, rather than within a short time frame following the move). A jurisdiction may extend web site posting to broader classes of registrants than SORNA requires, and may put up more information concerning particular registrants than SORNA requires.

My jurisdiction has laws that are more severe or strict than SORNA. Do these laws need to be changed to coincide with the SORNA standards?

No. Measures, which encompass the SORNA baseline of sex offender registration and notification requirements but go beyond them, have no negative implication concerning a jurisdiction implementation of or compliance with SORNA. This is so because the general purpose of SORNA is to protect the public from sex offenders and offenders against children through effective sex offender registration and notification, and it is not intended to preclude or limit state discretion to adopt more extensive or additional registration and notification requirements to that end. The only exception to this point is that SORNA Section 118(b) requires that the following types of information—victim identity, registrant Social Security Number, registrants’ arrests not resulting in conviction, and passport and immigration information—be excluded from publicly accessible state sex offender web sites. In all other respects, state discretion to go further than the SORNA minimum is not limited.

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