A state audit on sex offender registration compliance says it has improved, but more work needs to be done.
Auditor Susan Montee says statewide, registration non-compliance dropped from about 36 percent in 2002 to 7 percent now.
“In addition, the General Assembly, Department of Corrections and Division of Probation and Parole, and Missouri State Highway Patrol have generally implemented the recommendations in the prior audit report,” the audit states. “The General Assembly passed various legislation since the last audit and the law enforcement agencies made various changes and other enhancements to their records and procedures to address recommendations. These actions contributed to the reduction in the rate of non-compliance with the registration requirements. As of March 31, 2010, Missouri had 10,549 actively registered sex offenders in 114 counties and one city (St. Louis) not within a county.”
Montee’s audits notes the improvements needed:
— to ensure previously exempt offenders have re-registered
— further efforts are made to achieve substantial compliance with Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) requirements,
— data matches are performed to help locate non-compliant offenders,
— current notification procedures are properly performed, and
— timely evaluation and treatment services are provided.
Montee says some offenders were exempt from registering (if the crimes took place before the registry requirements were implemented), but then were required by the Supreme Court to register. The change has made it difficult to bring the state into 100 percent compliance, although work is still being done to track down all offenders.
“A June 2009 Missouri Supreme Court ruling resulted in 4,465 previously exempt sexual offenders being required to re-register on the sexual offender registry; however, 1,445 (32 percent) of these offenders had not re-registered as of March 31, 2010,” she says.
In July 2006, federal legislation was signed into law, providing a comprehensive set of minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification. All states were initially mandated to meet the new requirements by July 2009.
While the federal authorities have recognized and commended the state for the efforts made thus far, they concluded that Missouri had not yet achieved substantial compliance with the requirements.
“The prior audit reported local sexual offender registration units were not always made aware when an offender on the registration list had been incarcerated,” Montee says.
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