Sunday, December 28, 2008


The Controversy of SORNA
All states have to decide by July 27, 2009 whether they will adopt and implement the Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). The implementation of SORNA is an extensive and costly one. If the states do not implement SORNA, they will be faced with the loss of 10% of Byrne Grants ( used to pay for such things as drug task forces, anti-gang units, police overtime, and other law enforcement activities). On the other hand, if SORNA were to be implemented, it would prove to be much more costly for the state of Maryland and to each individual counties.
Under current Maryland Registration, the following are required from all Registered Sex Offenders:
A registration statement shall include:
(1) the registrant’s full name, including any suffix, and address;
(2) (i) for a registrant under § 11–704(a)(7)(i) of this subtitle or
who is on work release, the registrant’s place of employment; or
(ii) for a registrant under § 11–704(a)(7)(ii) of this subtitle, the
registrant’s place of educational institution or school enrollment;
(3) (i) for a registrant enrolled, or expecting to enroll, in an
institution of higher education in the State as a full–time or part–time student, the
name and address of the institution of higher education; or
(ii) for a registrant who carries on employment, or expects to
carry on employment, at an institution of higher education in the State, the name and
address of the institution of higher education;
(4) a description of the crime for which the registrant was convicted;
(5) the date that the registrant was convicted;
(6) the jurisdiction in which the registrant was convicted;
(7) a list of any CURRENT OR FORMER aliases, FORMER NAMES,
IDENTITIES that the registrant has used;
(8) the registrant’s Social Security number;
(9) any other name by which the registrant has been legally known;
(10) (12) the registrant’s signature and date signed.
(b) If the registrant is a sexually violent predator, the registration statement
shall also include:
(1) identifying factors, including a physical description;
(2) anticipated future residence, if known at the time of registration;
(3) offense history; and
(4) documentation of treatment received for a mental abnormality or
personality disorder.
Under SORNA, sex offenders will be required to provide the following information to the sex offender registry:
• names, including all aliases used by the sex offender;
• date of birth, including both actual date of birth and any false date(s) of birth used
by the sex offender;
• all Internet identifiers and addresses, e.g., e-mail and instant messaging addresses;
• all telephone numbers including both land lines and cell phone numbers;
• Social Security numbers (SSN), including both valid governmentally assigned
SSNs and any other SSNs used by the sex offender;
• residence address;
• other residence information (i.e., where the sex offender has a home or habitually
lives) in relation to sex offenders who lack a residence address for any reason
(e.g., homelessness, or living in a house in a rural or tribal area that has no street
• temporary lodging information about any place in which the sex offender is
staying for seven or more days, including identifying the place and the period of
time the sex offender is staying there;
• passport and immigration document information;
• employer’s name and address;
• other employment information concerning the places where the sex offender
works, if the sex offender has no fixed place of employment, such as information
about normal travel routes or the general area(s) in which the sex offender works;
• professional licenses;
• school name and address;
• vehicle information including description and license plate or registration number;
• physical description of the sex offender;
• text of the registration offense or offenses;
• criminal history and other criminal justice information;
• current photograph;
• fingerprints and palm prints;
• DNA information; and
• driver’s license or identification card.
The SORNA provisions were made retroactive. The Act applies to all sexual offenders,
including those offenders convicted prior to the enactment of SORNA (July 27, 2006) or
prior to a particular jurisdictions’ implementation of the SORNA requirements
So what does this all mean to the taxpayers?
Initially, there would be a one time general fund reprogramming cost of $33800 for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. That cost is for only one department. Every county would be responsible to cover their reprogramming cost out of their current budget. Under current law, it cost $1595 to supervise one offender for one year. Currently, Maryland has approximately 500 registrants. Or $797500 spent a year to supervise those registrants. Once SORNA is implemented, every registered sex offender must be re-registered and those who were not initially covered by the retroactive provision will now be required to register. The homeless will now be sought out and registered since Maryland current registration has no way to maintain the homeless. This will be proposed as weekly registrations of the homeless. In addition, there will be approximately 400 additional juvenile registrants to register. The sex offender registry has a total growth rate of 400-600 new registrants per year. Thus, with the increasing number of caseloads, there will be a great need to hire additional agents to handle such an increase. The cost to hire a new agent is about $50,00 per year including salary, benefits and equipment. Where will the extra money come from? Most counties in today’s economy are having to cut corners to trim their budgets. What will this added expense do to an already over-stretched budget? There are some solutions: 1) increase taxes for tax payers 2) take the needed money from other programs 3) Increase sales tax. None of those solutions would be acceptable to the tax payer. (Remember, this is for the state of Maryland, larger states will have increased expense.)
Current Maryland Sex Offender Registration and Classification is flawed. Maryland registries group all sex offenders in one registry “Child Sex Offender Register” and the requirements are the same for all registrants whether or not the offense involved a child. SORNA does not change the classifications, but rather enhances the misconception that all sex offenders are child sex offenders. This serves only one purpose: To deceive the public that SORNA is the only way to keep their children safe. Public is deceived and laws are passed.
SORNA is a costly implementation that only targets a small number of criminals. Interestingly still, is the fact that the very group that are being targeted, has the lowest re-offense rate of all criminals. Without separating the classifications, the re-offense rate for all sex offenders is 12%. This number is decreased with treatment and with time. Some one who was convicted more than 10 years ago, has a re-offense rate of less than 8%. Once the sex offender reaches the age of 45 or older, it drops to 3.3%. At age 60, the re-offense rate is near 0%. The highest incidence of re-offense occurs during the 1st 3 years after release and with the homeless. (Homelessness will increase with the new residency restriction laws that are proposed. Thus, residency laws due more harm the good.)
As a tax payer, we need to look at what is not being told to the public. Rather than spending that amount of money on a small group of criminals, wouldn’t it be better used for improving our children’s schools? Once you have decided that this new regulation, SORNA, would be more costly than effective, contact your state representatives. Time is running out for the tax payers to make their voices heard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am in a new relationship with a registered sex offender. It hasn't been easy, but in him I have found my soulmate! I live in Houston Texas.

My email is