SMART Office Highlights

The past year has been full of activity for the SMART Office. Jurisdictions continue to make great strides toward implementing the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). In particular, Indian tribes have accomplished a significant amount of work in implementing SORNA to keep their communities safe and informed. Over the past year, 1 State and numerous tribes have been added to those that have met the threshold for substantial implementation, bringing the current tally to 17 States, 3 U.S. territories, and 69 Indian tribes. Almost all of the remaining jurisdictions continue to work toward SORNA’s goals of information sharing and cooperation between and among all States, tribes, and territories as well as internationally in regard to registered sex offenders.

Of those States and territories that had not yet implemented by the most recent SORNA implementation deadline (July 2013), the SMART Office again collaborated with the Bureau of Justice Assistance to reallocate SORNA penalty funds to requesting jurisdictions, which will use them in support of SORNA-related activities and improvements. Thirty-six jurisdictions did not substantially implement SORNA by the last deadline and will receive the statutorily mandated 10-percent penalty in their Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funding; 29 of these jurisdictions applied for reallocation: Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The SMART Office continues to refine a system for oversight of jurisdictions that had already implemented SORNA to ensure that SORNA implementation is maintained as required by the statute. Aside from these activities, the SMART Office continued to provide focused technical assistance and tools, resources, and training for those jurisdictions that had not yet substantially implemented SORNA, with a particular focus on tribal jurisdictions. A number of articles in this edition of SMART Watch describe these SMART Office resources and activities.

One of the largest collaborations between the SMART Office and SORNA jurisdictions occurred during the 2014 SORNA Workshops. The workshops enabled registration jurisdictions to gather and learn from federal, State, tribal, and local partners about sex offender registration and notification issues and to share information and practical tips and advice. They also gave jurisdictions an invaluable opportunity to meet with their neighboring State or tribal registry officials to discuss border-to-border issues.

The SMART Office also established a new grant program in FY 2013, the Campus Sexual Assault Perpetrator Treatment Pilot Project,which continues the SMART Office’s commitment to support the development of innovative and evidence-based sex offender management programs or practices. The office continues to collaborate with the National Institute of Justice to research the effects of SORNA and with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on the Youth with Sexual Behavior Problems Program. With these new and continuing programs, the SMART Office is responding to the field’s expressed need for effective, evidence-based sex offender management programs and practices. We’ve included articles in this issue that provide additional information regarding our funding activities supporting these and other projects in FY 2013.

The SMART Office looks forward to continuing our progress on SORNA implementation and to providing guidance and funding to agencies and professionals nationwide who work every day to keep our communities safe and protected from sexual assault and exploitation.