2 years ago
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USVI DOJ Receives $400K Grant for Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

The Virgin Islands Department of Justice (VIDOJ) received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to support registration requirements for sex offenders, the VIDOJ announced in a press release on Monday.

The grant will allow to further align with the federal government’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SONRA), which requires s convicted sex offenders to register in the states in which they live, work, or attend school, and it directs the Attorney General to issue regulations and guidelines to implementation of SONRA guidelines.

“Sex offender registrations and notification systems are critical in our efforts to diminish the continued victimization of children subjected to sexual abuse,” said U.S. Attorney C.F. Shappert said in the press release. “Consistent with the law, convicted sex offenders are expected to comply with registration requirements. This process helps law enforcement protect our communities.”

While sex offender registries exist in every state, the U.S. Virgin Islands represents one of only 22 U.S. states, territories and commonwealths that satisfy each of the minimum SORNA requirements, according to the U.S. DOJ website.

Congress first established SORNA in 1996 as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (AWA) in order to strengthen sex offender registry programs, close loopholes on reporting requirements and track sex offenders as the travel across state lines and abroad.

The namesake of the AWA, Adam Walsh, was a six-year-old boy who was abducted from a Sears department store in 1981 and subsequently murdered. His father, Adam Walsh, went on to become an advocate for victims of violence and hosted the show America’s Most Wanted.

According to the U.S. DOJ’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registration and Tracking (SMART), which awarded the $400,000 grant, SORNA:

Extends the jurisdiction beyond the 50 States and into the territories.

Incorporates a more comprehensive list of sex offenders and offenses for which registration is required.

Requires registered sex offenders to register and keep current registration in each jurisdiction where they reside, work or go to school.

Requires sex offenders to provide more extensive registration information.

Requires sex offenders to make periodic in-person appearances to verify and update their registration information.

Expands the amount of information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders.

Makes changes in the required minimum duration of registration for sex offenders.

The VIDOJ offers public access to the sex offender registry database on its website, along with further resources on reporting requirements.


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