The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

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The Adam Walsh Act, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), was passed in July 2006. The legislation repealed Jacob Wetterling's sex offender registration law. The law categorizes sex offenders into three categories based on the severity of the conduct for which they were arrested (McPherson, 2007). Furthermore, each degree of offense has its own set of public notification and registration requirements. Tier (level) I consists of sex offenders arrested for the least serious offenses. The legislation requires them to keep their records for 15 years and to renew their registration once a year (McPherson, 2007).Moreover, Tier II involves sex offender who must adhere to 25 years of registration, which is renewed every six months. Finally, Tier III encompasses sex offender who have been arrested for serious wrongdoing. Their registration is supposed to take place for the rest of their lives with a renewal interval of three months (Atkinson, 2008). The article also explains the miscellaneous provision, which include issues dealing with bail, child pornography, and immigration (McPherson, 2007). Finally, it describes matters on ex post facto.

Most Interesting about the Guide

One of the most interesting issues about this guide is on the factor of retroactivity, which explains that Welsh Act would be applied retroactively to sex offenders arrested before its enactment. Therefore, the legislation was very effective in ensuring that all sex offenders are registered (McPherson, 2007).

Potential Problems and Positives about the Article

However, some of the potential problems of this law include the high cost of law enforcement, which may increase the difficulty of its implementation in some states (Atkinson, 2008). In fact, some jurisdiction may fail to implement the law because of the high amount of funds needed (McPherson, 2007). For instance, the frequency and period of registering among sex offenders would require more funds to hire more officers because it would increase the number of registries (Miner, 2011). Additionally, the concept of retroactivity is one of the positive contributions of the law.


Atkinson, A. M. (2008). Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA): An Unconstitutional Infringement of States' Rights under the Commerce Clause, The. Charleston L. Rev., 3, 573.

McPherson, L. (2007). Practitioner’s guide to the Adam Walsh Act. Update, 20(9), 1-8.

Miner, M. S. (2011). The Adam Walsh Act's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Requirements and the Commerce Clause: A Defense of Congress's Power to Check the Interstate Movement of Unregistered Sex Offenders. Vill. L. Rev., 56, 51.

April 19, 2023

Social Issues Crime



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