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Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse

Keyword: sorn

New Juvenile Registration and Notification Guidelines are Open for Comment at the Department of Justice

Department of JusticeThe public has been invited to submit comments regarding the proposed Department of Justice’s Supplemental Guidelines for Juvenile Registration Under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The proposed guideline clarifies how the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) will assess whether a jurisdiction has substantially implemented SORNA’s juvenile registration provisions.

However, the guideline does not affect substantial implementation of SORNA’s registration requirements for adults who sexually offend.

Comments are due by Friday, June 10, 2016.

We at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, and many other experts in the field, recommend that the SMART Office emphasize evidence-based treatment rather than registration and waiver as a way to manage youth who have sexually offended. Specifically we recommend the following revisions to the Proposed Supplemental Guidelines:

  1. Remove all requirements for the registration of youth adjudicated delinquent for sex offenses. Further, remove financial penalties for states and other jurisdictions when such penalties are based solely on the exclusion of adjudicated youth from registration requirements.
  2. Remove all language that implicitly or explicitly encourages or appears to encourage the waiver of juveniles to adult criminal court.
  3. Insert language that supports the provision of evidence-based treatment services to youth adjudicated delinquent of sex offenses and their caregivers.

To read our entire letter, please click here and view the PDF titled “Experts Respond to SORNA Proposed Guidelines."

You may also submit your own comments here by clicking the “Comment Now!” button at the top right of the page.

researchRecently, an article that I wrote with Ryan Shields, PhD, my colleague at the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, along with Andrew Harris, PhD, and Scott Walfield from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, was published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.

The article, “Collateral Consequences of Juvenile Sex Offender Registration and Notification: Results from a Survey of Treatment Providers,” examines treatment providers’ perceptions of the consequences that result from including youth on sex offender registries. There were five key areas where we believed consequences might occur: mental health, harassment, school problems, living instability and risk of re-offending.

Three important themes emerged: 1) treatment providers overwhelmingly believe there are negative consequences associated with youth being registered, 2) the negative effects were associated more with notification than registration, which supports earlier studies that found public shaming increases the stigma of sexual offending and leads to depression, stress and isolation, and 3) providers’ negative perceptions were not influenced by their demographics, education level, etc., suggesting that concern about the potential harm of registering youth is prevalent.

To read the article in full, please visit the Sage Publications website.