INTERPOL Washington Participates in 2018 SORNA Workshop
INTERPOL Washington—the U.S. National Central Bureau—participated in the 2018 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Workshop, held January 9-10, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The workshop brought together approximately 200 sex offender registry officials to participate in working groups, presentations, and panel discussions designed to assist U.S. states, tribes, and territories to improve sex offender registration and notification in their areas. It was sponsored by the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) in the Office of Justice Programs. Other participants included faculty from the U.S. Marshals Service’s National Sex Offender Targeting Center; the FBI DNA Laboratory; FBI-Criminal Justice Information Services; and state, territory, and tribal representatives.
INTERPOL Washington Supervisory Investigative Analyst Michelle Ford-Stepney along with representatives from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and the U.S. Marshals Services participated in a panel on “Information Sharing: Enforcement Strategies.” The panel encompassed registration requirements once an offender is released from custody as well as federal enforcement efforts. Ford-Stepney explained INTERPOL’s role in supporting implementation of SORNA, speaking specifically on the dissemination of sex offender notifications and the Green Notice program.
Under SORNA Supplemental Guidelines, registered sex offenders are required to inform their residence of jurisdiction of any intended travel outside of the United States at least 21 days prior to their departure. The registration jurisdiction collects the information about the offender’s intended international travel and sends that information to the U.S. Marshals Service’s National Sex Offender Targeting Center, which, in turn, reviews and forwards it to INTERPOL Washington for foreign country notification. INTERPOL Washington uses Green Notices to provide information to warn law enforcement organizations in INTERPOL member countries about subjects who are a possible threat to public safety or may commit a criminal offense, including those subjects who have been registered under SORNA.
“These workshops are a great opportunity for officials to come together to share information to improve our tracking and monitoring of sex offenders. Our work to support SORNA is one of a number of areas INTERPOL Washington supports to combat the exploitation of children,” said Ford-Stepney. INTERPOL Washington supports domestic law enforcement agencies by providing investigative assistance and serving as a dedicated channel for exchanging intelligence with INTERPOL member countries to counter the transnational, mobile, and clandestine nature of the criminal organizations and violators who commit human trafficking offenses. The agency also works with domestic and foreign law enforcement authorities, as well as non-government organizations, to locate missing and abducted children, combat child sex tourism, track the international movements of registered and non-compliant sex offenders, and end the production and distribution of child sexual exploitation images worldwide.
SORNA refers to the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, which is Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248). SORNA provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification in the United States. SORNA aims to close potential gaps and loopholes that existed under prior law and generally strengthens the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs. Additionally, SORNA:
•Extends the jurisdictions in which registration is required beyond the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the principal U.S. territories, to include federally recognized Indian tribes.
•Incorporates a more comprehensive group of sex offenders and sex offenses for which registration is required.
•Requires registered sex offenders to register and keep their registration current in each jurisdiction in which 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.
A component of the U.S. Department of Justice, INTERPOL Washington is co-managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As the designated representative to INTERPOL on behalf of the Attorney General, INTERPOL Washington serves as the national point of contact for all INTERPOL matters, coordinating international investigative efforts among member countries and the more than 18,000 local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies in the United States.