The Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) announced awards of nearly $15.8 million to help states, U.S. territories and tribal communities develop and improve their systems to register and track sex offenders. SMART also awarded $2.3 million to help protect participants in U.S.-Olympic and Paralympic athletic programs from abuse and $1.6 million to maintain the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website.
The awards will be used to help jurisdictions meet the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Jurisdictions will develop and enhance their sex offender registration systems in order to better track and monitor sex offenders, reduce violent crime and improve public safety.
“We strongly believe that when jurisdictions enact and follow SORNA’s consistent standards, their citizens are better protected from sexual violence,” said OJP Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan. “And the public benefits don’t end there. Effective management and information sharing regarding sex offenders helps improve public safety in other jurisdictions.
The Adam Walsh Act, signed into law on July 27, 2006, is designed to protect the public from child exploitation and violent crime, prevent child abuse and child pornography and promote internet safety. The law is named in memory of 6-year-old Adam Walsh, who was abducted and murdered in 1981. To date, 157 jurisdictions (18 states, 135 tribes and four territories) have substantially implemented SORNA’s requirements.
“The SMART Office will continue to assist jurisdictions across the country in providing both law enforcement and the public with the tools they need to better inform and protect themselves,” said Dawn Doran, acting Director of the SMART Office. “That is our mission—to help our state, tribal and territorial partners register and provide notification to the public of sex offenders within their jurisdiction.”
The SMART Office is also funding nearly $2.3 million to the Keep Young Athletes Safe Program, which helps to prevent abuse in the athletic programs of the United States Olympic Committee, national governing bodies and the Paralympic sports organizations. The U.S. Center for SafeSport will receive the Keep Young Athletes Safe grant to continue to develop a comprehensive training and prevention program aimed at protecting young athletes from abuse.
In addition, $1.6 million was awarded for the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, to support maintenance, operations and technological improvements. The SMART Office manages this website, which links state, territorial and tribal public registry websites and allows the public to search for registered sex offenders on a national scale.
The Office of Justice Programs, directed by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine T. Sullivan, provides federal leadership, grants, training and technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime, assist victims and enhance the rule of law by strengthening the criminal and juvenile justice systems. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.