Alabama sex offender registry compliance involves rigorous standards that are often violated unintentionally.
Offenders are often given a long list of requirements with which they are expected to comply, and violations are quite common.
Law enforcement frequently conducts sweeps to follow up with sex offenders and ensure compliance. These checks are done for several reasons.
First of all, even when officers have no real reason to suspect non-compliance, few will argue against harassment of sex offenders.
Secondly, these types of operations are easy. Sex offenders are almost always easy to find, and violations aren’t difficult to uncover because the list of possible oversights is so lengthy.
One such recent operation in Tuscaloosa resulted in 22 citations for violation and 17 arrests, out of all 114 sex offenders living in the city. That’s a violation rate of nearly 20 percent.
Among the list of violations cited during that sweep:
- Failure to register;
- Establishing employment within 2,000 feet of a school;
- Prohibited residences;
- Establishing residence within 2,000 feet of a school;
- Failure to give required information;
- Parental failure to register a juvenile offender.
Sex offenders in Alabama are forbidden to live and work within certain distances of schools or daycares. In general, sex offenders can’t live with a minor unless he or she is a parent or step-parent to that child and the offender’s victim was not a child. If the offender’s victim was under the age of 12, he or she can’t live with a minor at all and isn’t allowed to loiter in areas where children gather.
Depending on the crime, they must also register anytime they change residences, change jobs, enroll in higher education or change their name. They must also report any arrest or conviction immediately to authorities. They may also be subject to electronic monitoring, provide a DNA sample and keep documentation of their identity with them while outside their residence.
Even juveniles who were convicted of sex crimes may be subject to many of these harsh requirements.
There are some local efforts to change some aspects of the law, as it pertains to juvenile sex offenders. Birmingham juvenile sex offender advocates say for one thing, providing the names, addresses and photographs of juvenile offenders is not only contrary to our goal of juvenile justice, which is rehabilitation, it’s potentially harmful and even dangerous to the youthful offender.
The one example given was that of a 14-year-old who was playing a game with some other teens and things got out-of-hand. The young teen was arrested and ultimately convicted of a sex crime, and is now a registered sex offender. He is now 19, and that incident may haunt him for the rest of his life, as he enrolls in college, applies for a job and has children of his own. As it stands now, he couldn’t coach his children’s softball teams or help out with school functions.
He has also reportedly been targeted for having his name, address and photograph on display. Acts of vandalism and harassment have been plentiful, his father says.
Advocates are petitioning for a change in the law, though local and state authorities unsurprisingly oppose it.
Sex offender registry violations can carry serious consequences in themselves. Fighting them will take an attorney who is serious about defending your rights.