Sex Offender Registry Requirements
Conditions of Supervision aren’t the only set of rules that vary based on location. For returning citizens who are required to register, the rules they must follow vary widely and can be confusing and overwhelming. States have a lot of discretion in how they write their SOR laws and the result is a patchwork of restrictions. Just look at the so called Thousand Foot Rule, which prohibits a registrant from living or working within 1,000 ft. of schools, playgrounds, daycares, etc. For some states that “etc.” includes churches, making finding housing and employment in the Bible Belt near impossible. In some states the Thousand Foot Rule is actually 1,500 ft., in others it’s 2,000.
Complicating matters even further, it is often left up to local law enforcement jurisdictions to determine what establishments meet the criteria for certain restrictions. For example, the “etc.” for Georgia’s Thousand Foot Rule includes public pools. One county has decided that the pool at a private gym, which requires paid membership to access, qualifies as a public pool. This eliminates the surrounding area for possible housing and employment opportunities for registrants. In an adjacent county hotel pools, arguably much more easily accessible to registrants, are not considered public and therefore the surrounding areas are acceptable.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to registration requirements across the country. The wide range of restrictions, who they apply to, and for how long, differ from state to state. Driving across state lines to visit family, even with the prior approval from a federal probation officer, is fraught with pitfalls. One must first research the SOR requirements not only in the destination state but in any states one plans to travel through. Even an overnight stop can violate the registry requirements and trigger a Failure to Register charge. This is a serious offense that will send a registrant back to prison, potentially for many years.
Probation Information Network has meticulously researched SOR requirements in all 50 states and all territories for which data is available. We’ve included links to each state’s SOR website, and created comparison charts for certain questions to make life on the registry just a little less stressful for registrants and their loved ones. Visit our Sex Offender Registration Requirements page for more.