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SORNA: Determination of Residence, Homeless Offenders and Transient Workers

Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), requires that jurisdictions must register homeless and transient sex offenders, as well as offenders without fixed employment locations. The National Guidelines for Sex Offender Registration and Notification advise that, for the purposes of registration under SORNA, a sex offender resides in a jurisdiction when he or she:

  1. has a home in a jurisdiction, or
  2. habitually lives in a jurisdiction.

A sex offender "habitually lives" in a jurisdiction when that offender lives in a jurisdiction for more than 30 days (whether those days are consecutive or aggregated over a period of time, as the jurisdiction determines). Jurisdictions are free to decide how to make the determination regarding who resides in their jurisdiction, thus triggering a registration requirement.

Jurisdictions must register homeless sex offenders, requiring an offender to provide "some more or less specific description" of where that offender habitually lives.

Under SORNA, the definition of employee includes individuals who are self-employed or working for any entity, whether or not they are compensated. For those sex offenders who do not have a fixed employment location, jurisdictions are expected to register the normal travel routes or general area(s) in which an offender works, to the extent that it is possible to do so. For day laborers the location of a "common gathering point" counts as a "workplace" for registration purposes.

The SMART Office encourages jurisdictions to discuss specific situations and how to handle them in conformance with the intent of SORNA. Some situations that might require such a discussion are those posed by long-haul truckers, day laborers, temporary workers, contractors and similarly situated offenders.

To download all of the documents, click here.

Date Created: March 25, 2020