WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to enhance public safety, U.S. Senator Jack Reed announced $384,254 in federal funding for the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety to reinforce the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The federal funds, administered by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office), will be dispersed through the Adam Walsh Act Implementation Grant program, which administers grants relating to sex offender registration and notification and other grant programs as directed by the U.S. Attorney General.  Rhode Island will use the funding to enhance and increase sex offender registration compliance and minimize gaps when it comes to offender information.

“I am committed to enhancing public safety and holding offenders accountable.  This federal funding will help ensure state and local law enforcement have an effective, unified system to identify and track convicted sexual predators and keep the public informed.  I will also continue working to ensure Rhode Island law enforcement can coordinate with the U.S. Marshals Service as needed to locate and arrest fugitive sex offenders,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS), which oversees federal funding for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Under the terms of the grant, Rhode Island may use the federal funds for support personnel to maintain the Sex Offender Registry; pay annual subscription fees for specialized computer software called OffenderWatch; and digitize all existing hard copy sex offender records to ensure SORNA compliance, enabling all agencies to obtain accurate, consistent information in an efficient manner.

SORNA is part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which Congress passed in 2006 to require that a registered sex offender notify law enforcement of a change of address.  The law made it a federal crime for a registered sex offender to move from one state to another state without re-registering with the new home state and strengthened the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs.

Senator Reed voted for the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 and helped reauthorize it in 2016.  The law is named for the abducted and slain son of “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh.