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When a Sex Offender Comes to Visit: A National Assessment of Travel Restrictions

The present study examines the registration requirements for sex offenders traveling from their resident state to another state for business or pleasure. The author contacted each state’s primary SORN office to obtain the necessary registration requirements for non-resident sex offenders, as well as where and how non-resident sex offenders can obtain this information prior to visiting that state. The findings indicate that registration requirements and residence restrictions vary significantly by state for non-resident registrants. While not surprising given that numerous studies have highlighted that sex offender policies produce unique and severe challenges for all sex offenders in the United States. This study, however, suggests that non-resident sex offender policies are another potential collateral consequences for registrants. Most notably, there is significant variation in the number of days a registered sex offender has to register in any given state when they come to visit for any occasion. Depending on the state or jurisdiction that the registrant is visiting, residence restrictions may also be applicable. As a result of these laws, registrants may feel stymied from visiting another state, which may further delineate prosocial opportunities, including gatherings with family and friends or fulfilling employment obligations. Additionally, states may experience an increased financial burden due to the manpower needed to enforce their state’s non-resident sex offender laws, especially in areas that are known tourist destinations. Future research and policy implications are further discussed. Abstract and Full Paper (html)  |  Full Paper (pdf)

Join the discussion

  1. KM

    Wow. Just wow…

    It seems all of academia is against the registry. Civil rights orgs are too. Why is this still allowed?

    • TS

      @KM

      An emotionally charged voter base gathers votes for politicians/judges (those not appointed), not an educated voter base who knows or may know better.

    • Tim Moore

      There is an all out war on observable truth taking place in this nation. Academics are becoming an endangered species.

    • AJ

      To paraphrase from “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”: “Facts? We ain’t got no facts. We don’t need no facts. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ facts!

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinking_badges

  2. Douglas Martinez

    The link no longer works.

  3. Eric

    It is remarkable that the article states that Megan’s Law was implemented to monitor sex offenders closely due to several high profile assaults and murders. So you are telling me that drug dealers, gang members, mobsters, domestic violence offenders, and mentally ill people haven’t done a few high profile assaults and murders? For that matter We could add police, celebrities, and politicians to the list. How does that stand up in court as constitutional. Why am I being punished for what someone else might have done or could possibly do?

  4. JM of Wi.

    Lots of work to get all the data compiled. (One month and a couple of days.) For us under threat of felony, all data is already old and potentially unusable. This somewhat comprehensive study shows the insanity of our situation. Driving 1 hour to Ill. From Wi. for an extended weekend is now a hardship. Gets harder to remember self-imposed hardship rather than punishment after 20+ years.

    • HopingForHop

      What is the current reporting requirement for visitors to Il?

      • TS

        @HopingforHop

        Look under the Legal Tab here on this website up above to find the latest IL requirements on the travel spreadsheet published.

    • JM of Wi.

      3 days, register at police station which closes registration 5 pm Fri, opens Monday unless holiday. Take train in memorial day weekend arrive 7pm. Fri. leave Monday night 8pm Police station closed entire stay. Potential for felony charge.
      Also.
      Used to be — “As written, the law at issue makes it a crime for convicted sex offenders to attend concerts, picnics, rallies, or Chicago Bears games at Soldier Field, for example, or visit popular places like the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, the Adler Planetarium, or the Museum of Science and Industry, all of which are public buildings on park land.”
      Thankfully the presence restriction was changed.

  5. Gralphr

    No matter how obvious it is concering these laws being a punishment and more in line with nazi germany, people will continue to push them. Sometime ago, the citizens became sheep and could care less what unjust law the government forces on us. The more i read and with each new draconian and inhuman law passed, it makes me believe all of this is for a darker agenda down the path that will result in the death penalty or something else. Call me paranoid, but these laws are straight out of a 1984 style book.

  6. Davidh

    I wonder if he is correct about NY, Penn, Oregon not requiring non residents to register. I’m pretty sure I recall NY to be 10 days

    • CR

      I think the registration period for Alaska was wrong in his report too. It doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t rely on the registration times or other specific requirements in the report. The laws that affect us change frequently. He collected the data via survey of each state in 2015, and didn’t indicate whether he did any independent verification. Error can creep in at many junctures.

      The data is good enough to support his conclusions about the complexity of the laws and their negative impacts to registrants, their friends, family, and others. That is what is important. It should be referenced in court cases.

      • TS

        @CR – Well said.

        For all – Look under the Legal Tab here on this website up above to find the latest registry requirements on the travel spreadsheet published. Then, cross reference the law there with what is online to ensure it is current if you have doubt or want to give yourself a warm fuzzy feeling about traveling. Not saying this spreadsheet is not updated, but the law only recognizes what they want and what is on their books is the law.

  7. It doesn’t work

    This is insanity. Thank you for compiling this information. It hits the nail on the head!!! If i travel the USA, I will have to do my own research & lots of it.

  8. T

    It’s seems that more sex offender registry laws are taking in effect in regards to traveling, because it’s believed that sex offenders (Registrants) are traveling for the purpose of being involve in some criminal activity involving minors and that they need to be monitored if they are traveling somewhere thinking they will do something bad. However the notion that sex offenders are dangerous and have a high recidivism rate than any other crime is nothing but a logical fallacy that needs to be refuted with courage, because most registrants really want to move on with their lives, stay out of trouble, and travel freely wherever they want unmolested by anyone. The real criminals that are involved in sex trafficking and tourism involving children are not registrants claimed by Chris Smith, because it could be anyone with no criminal record and not on the registry that hasn’t been caught, even politicians could be involved too (including Chris Smith). This is why the IML is unconstitutional and needs to be challenged because it targets only registered citizens in the US (whose conviction involves a minor) that are staying out of trouble but are being casted down as scapegoat to whatever issue there is which probably has nothing to do with preventing sex trafficking and tourism involving children all over the world by using the angel watch center.

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