WASHINGTON — The Justice Department’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) today announced that Oklahoma, Virginia and 21 federally recognized Indian tribes are the latest jurisdictions to implement the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
“Eleven years ago, Congress gave communities powerful tools to protect citizens from pedophiles and other sexual predators,” said Office of Justice Programs Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson. “Today, the Adam Walsh Act continues to stand as a beacon of safety and a bulwark against the dangers posed by sex offenders.”
Since the passage of SORNA, the Department has been helping jurisdictions implement the act in order to create a comprehensive national system for registering and tracking sex offenders. As of today, the SMART Office has found 18 states, three territories and 121 tribes nationwide have substantially implemented SORNA.
“Over the last several years, state leaders have worked diligently with our federal partners and are now considered substantially compliant with SORNA,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “That commitment allows for Justice Assistance Grants to be fully funded, which provides the state support for important public safety initiatives in law enforcement, prosecution, crime prevention and more.
In addition to Oklahoma and Virginia, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming; and the territories of Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have substantially implemented SORNA. An overview of state and U.S. territory implementation is available at SMART’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) State and Territory Implementation Progress Check (www.smart.gov/progress_check).
Native American tribes have faced particular challenges in implementing SORNA. The Havasupai Tribe, for example, whose reservation is located in the Grand Canyon, worked for years to implement a SORNA program that addressed the unique needs of the Havasupai jurisdiction, including addressing obstacles posed by a lack of technology infrastructure and limited law enforcement resources, Tribal Chairman Don Watahomigie said. The hard work came to fruition when the Havasupai Tribe opted to set up its own registry, and was found to have substantially implemented SORNA.
“The tribe and its SORNA program partners remain committed to public safety and will continue to improve upon the tribe's SORNA program responsibilities to ensure a safe future for the next generations,” said Chairman Watahomigie.
At the 10-year anniversary of SORNA — July 27, 2016 — 100 tribes had substantially implemented the law. Since then, that number has grown by an additional 21 tribes: Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, The Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Havasupai Tribe, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Miccosukee Tribe, Navajo Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, Pueblo of Jemez, Puyallup Tribe, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council, Sac and Fox Nation (of Oklahoma), San Carlos Apache Tribe, Spirit Lake Tribe, Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa and Yankton Sioux Tribe. A list of all 121 tribes can be found at https://www.smart.gov/newsroom_jurisdictions_sorna.htm.
About the Office of Justice Programs
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART). More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.