SORNA Implementation Survey

U.S. Government Accountability Office

 

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Section 1: Status of SORNA Implementation and SMART Office Review

1.  The Department of Justice's (DOJ) Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office) is responsible for, among other things, administering the standards for SORNA, which includes reviewing and advising on the efforts of covered jurisdictions to implement the requirements of the law.

Has your jurisdiction submitted an implementation package to the SMART Office for review? Click one button.
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  Please explain why you have not submitted an implementation package; then skip to question 4.
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2.  What determination, if any, has the SMART Office made regarding whether your jurisdiction has substantially implemented the requirements of SORNA? Click one button.
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3.  Do you agree with the SMART Office's determination that your jurisdiction has not yet substantially implemented the requirements of SORNA? Click one button.
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  Please explain why you disagree with the SMART Office's determination.
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4.  Is your jurisdiction actively working to substantially implement the requirements of SORNA? Click one button.
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  Please explain why you are not actively working to substantially implement the requirements of SORNA; then skip to question 6.
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5.  When does your jurisdiction plan to submit an (updated) implementation package to the SMART Office for review? Click one button.
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Status of SORNA Implementation and SMART Office Review (cont'd)

6.  According to the SMART Office, when jurisdictions submit substantial implementation materials for review, the implementation package should include the Substantial Implementation Checklist tool, with materials organized into the following 14 sections, which cover the major requirements of SORNA.

In your opinion, how clear, if at all, is the SMART Office's published guidance, including the checklist tool, covering each of the following 14 sections of requirements? Click one button in each row.
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Very clear
Somewhat clear
Not at all clear
Don't know
  I. Immediate Transfer of Information
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  II. Offenses that Must Be Included in the Registry
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  III. Tiering of Offenses
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  IV. Required Registration Information
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  V. Where Registration Is Required
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  VI. Initial Registration: Timing and Notice
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  VII. Initial Registration: Retroactive Classes of Offenders
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Very clear
Somewhat clear
Not at all clear
Don't know
  VIII. Keeping the Registration Current
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  IX. Verification/Appearance Requirements
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  X. Public Registry Website Requirements
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  XI. Community Notification
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  XII. Failure to Register as a Sex Offender: State Penalty
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  XIII. When Sex Offender Fails to Appear for Registration
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  XIV. When a Jurisdiction Has Information That a Sex Offender May Have Absconded
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7.  If you answered "Somewhat clear" or "Not at all clear" to any of the above, please describe what is unclear about the guidance and provide suggestions, if any, for improving the clarity of the guidance.
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8.  Pursuant to SORNA, designated federally recognized Indian tribes are entitled to elect to become SORNA registration and notification jurisdictions or to delegate the responsibility to the state in which they are located. If a state has a tribe or tribes located within its boundaries that have elected to implement SORNA, the SMART Office requests that it provide additional information when submitting substantial implementation materials for review.

If tribal considerations are applicable in your jurisdiction, in your opinion, how clear, if at all, is the SMART Office's published guidance for that section of requirements? Click one button.
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  If you answered "Somewhat clear" or "Not at all clear", please describe what is unclear about the guidance on tribal considerations and provide suggestions, if any, for improving the clarity of the guidance.
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9.  In your opinion, how clear, if at all, are the criteria the SMART Office use to determine whether a jurisdiction has substantially implemented the requirements of SORNA? Click one button.
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10.  How responsive, if at all, has the SMART Office been to your jurisdiction's questions regarding substantial implementation requirements? Click one button.
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11.  If you would like to add further comment to any of your answers in this section of the questionnaire (implementation status or the SMART office review), please do so in the space below.
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Section 2: Challenges Regarding SORNA Implementation

12.  How much of a challenge, if at all, have the following been to your jurisdiction's efforts to substantially implement SORNA? Click one button in each row.
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Major challenge
Minor challenge
Not a challenge
Don't know
  a. Reconciling conflicts between SORNA and state constitution
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  b. Reconciling conflicts between SORNA and state laws
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  c. Applying the conviction-based tiering structure
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  d. Applying the registration requirements to certain types of offenses
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  e. Applying the juvenile registration requirements
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  f. Applying the requirements retroactively
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  g. Applying the frequency of registration requirements
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Major challenge
Minor challenge
Not a challenge
Don't know
  h. Applying the in-person appearances or verification requirements
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  i. Applying the duration of registration requirements
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  j. Applying the requirements for registration information (such as internet identifiers, addresses, and text of registration offense)
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  k. Applying the public (community) notification requirements
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  l. Covering the costs associated with implementation of SORNA
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  m. Generating the political will to implement the necessary changes
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  n. Other challenges - describe in box below:
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  If other challenges, please describe:
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13.  If you answered "Major Challenge" or "Minor Challenge" to any of the above, please explain why it is or was a challenge.
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14.  For each major or minor challenge discussed above, what, if anything, is your jurisdiction doing (or did your jurisdiction do) to address it?
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15.  For each major or minor challenge discussed above, what, if anything, could DOJ or the SMART Office do to address it?
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16.  Are any of the major or minor challenges discussed above keeping your jurisdiction from substantially implementing SORNA? Click one button.
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  Please describe how any challenges are keeping you from implementing SORNA.
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17.  Are there any aspects of SORNA as currently written that you would suggest changing? Click one button.
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18.  What changes would you suggest and why?
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Challenges Regarding SORNA Implementation (cont'd)

19.  Has your office ever applied for a grant from the SMART Office's Support for Adam Walsh Act Implementation Grant Program to help implement the requirements of SORNA? Click one button.
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  Please describe why your office has not applied for a grant, then skip to question 21.
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20.  Has your office ever received any grant funding from the SMART Office's Support for Adam Walsh Act Implementation Grant Program to help implement the requirements of SORNA? Click one button.
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21.  Has your jurisdiction received any non-grant assistance from DOJ or the SMART Office, such as specialized training or technical assistance, to help implement the requirements of SORNA? Click one button.
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22.  What type(s) of non-grant assistance did your jurisdiction receive from DOJ or the SMART Office to help implement the requirements of SORNA?
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23.  How useful, if at all, has this non-grant assistance from DOJ or the SMART Office been to your jurisdiction's efforts to implement SORNA? Click one button.
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24.  Does your jurisdiction use the SORNA Exchange Portal? Click one button.
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  Please describe why your jurisdiction does not use the SORNA Exchange Portal, then skip to question 26.
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25.  How useful, if at all, is the SORNA Exchange Portal to your jurisdiction? Click one button.
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  Please explain why the SORNA Exchange Portal is or is not useful.
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26.  If you would like to add further comment to any of your answers in this section of the questionnaire (challenges with implementation), please provide below.
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Section 3: Effects of SORNA Implementation

27.  To what extent, if any, has your jurisdiction made changes to your sex offender registration and notification requirements in order to implement SORNA? Click one button.
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28.  Please describe the key changes your jurisdiction made to your sex offender registration and notification requirements in order to implement SORNA.
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29.  In general, what positive effects, if any, have you observed or do you expect of implementing these changes in your jurisdiction? (This could include effects on information sharing, law enforcement resources, monitoring sex offenders, etc.)
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30.  In general, what negative effects, if any, have you observed or do you expect of implementing these changes in your jurisdiction? (This could include effects on information sharing, law enforcement resources, monitoring sex offenders, etc.)
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31.  To the best of your knowledge, have you observed an increase or decrease in the following areas as a result of implementing SORNA requirements? Click one button in each row.
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Large increase
Slight increase
No change
Slight decrease
Large decrease
Don't know
  a. Number of registered adult sex offenders
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  b. Number of registered juvenile sex offenders
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  c. Number of adult sex offenders who are lifetime registrants
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  d. Number of juvenile sex offenders who are lifetime registrants
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32.  Are you aware of any studies on the effects of SORNA requirements in your jurisdiction? Click one button.
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33.  If you would like to add further comment to any of your answers in this section of the questionnaire (effects of SORNA implementation), please provide below.
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Section 4: Tracking Sex Offenders Entering or Leaving the U.S.

34.  Under section 128 of SORNA, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Homeland Security, is required to establish a system for informing domestic jurisdictions about persons entering the United States who are required to register under SORNA. Further, 18 U.S.C. 2250(a)(2)(B) makes it a federal crime for a sex offender required to register under SORNA to travel in foreign commerce and knowingly fail to register or update a registration in the U.S., as required by SORNA.

Prior to receiving this questionnaire, was your jurisdiction aware that DOJ's SORNA guidelines state that registered sex offenders must inform their jurisdiction about plans to travel outside of the United States at least 21 days prior to such travel? Click one button.
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35.  Are registered sex offenders in your jurisdiction required to provide advance notice of international travel? Click one button.
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  Please explain why registered sex offenders are not required to provide advance notice of international travel.
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36.  Prior to receiving this questionnaire, was your jurisdiction aware that DOJ's SORNA guidelines state that registered sex offenders must provide passport information when notifying a jurisdiction about their plans to travel outside of the United States? Click one button.
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37.  Does your jurisdiction collect passport information from registered sex offenders? Click one button.
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  Please explain why passport information is not collected.
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38.  What challenges, if any, has your jurisdiction experienced in ensuring that registered sex offenders who plan to travel outside of the United States notify the jurisdiction OR in collecting passport information from registered sex offenders?
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39.  What actions, if any, has your jurisdiction taken to address these challenges?
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40.  What actions, if any, could the federal government take to address these challenges?
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Tracking Sex Offenders Entering or Leaving the U.S. (cont'd)

41.  Prior to receiving this questionnaire, was your jurisdiction aware of DOJ's requirement (identified in the SORNA Supplemental Guidelines) to inform the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) about any registered sex offenders who, to the jurisdiction's knowledge, plan to travel outside of the United States? Click one button.
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42.  Prior to receiving this questionnaire, was your jurisdiction aware of the Notification of International Travel of Sex Offender form that jurisdictions are to complete and submit to USMS when a registered sex offender informs the jurisdiction of plans to travel outside the United States? Click one button.
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43.  What challenges, if any, have you experienced in notifying USMS about sex offenders leaving the U.S.?
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44.  In your opinion, what can USMS and other relevant federal agencies do to address any challenges identified above?
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45.  If you would like to add further comment to any of your answers in this section of the questionnaire (tracking sex offenders entering or leaving the U.S.), please provide below.
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