MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 13, 2012

States must comply with sex law


— States have zero excuse to fail to comply with a 2006 federal law that requires them to join a nationwide program to track sex offenders.

Nearly three dozen states — including five that have given up tracking sex offenders altogether — have failed to comply with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act.

The act was supposed to create a uniform system for registering and tracking sex offenders.

If a person is convicted in one state of a sex crime, they are required to register as a sex offender wherever they move.

Many states apparently are concerned the act does not work and costs too much.

If the states don’t comply, the feds will cut off millions of dollars in government grants for law enforcement.

But, some states feel the cost of complying is not worth the federal grant money.

Times are tough and money is tight. States are not immune to a poor economy.

But one of the basic jobs of a government is to provide for the public safety.

Tweaks may need to be made, but states can’t opt out.

One way to cut costs may be to create uniform standards of what qualifies as a sex crime.

There are degrees of sex crimes.

In some states, a person who urinates in public is considered a sex offender in the same way as a person convicted of rape.

Standardizing each state’s sex offender registry might cut costs and place the emphasis on those who really belong under our microscope for the rest of their lives.

To allow sex offenders to live in our communities without registering properly, however, is not an option.