Offender Reentry

On November 4th, the Council of State Governments Justice Center held a congressional staff briefing to highlight the work being done nationwide to reduce recidivism. Experts from the CSG Justice Center, the Urban Institute, and the U.S. Department of Justice discussed the growing body of research identifying practices effective in reducing recidivism.

Despite numerous efforts at all levels of government, policymakers continue to struggle to identify and implement effective policies and programs that address the myriad issues related to sexual offenders and their crimes. Complex issues around sentencing, community supervision and re-entry of sexual offenders into the community remain critical challenges for state lawmakers.

The Adam Walsh Act sets a minimum national standard for state sex offender registries and  notification laws and has the potential to overhaul sex offender laws across the nation. The act, which is divided into seven titles, calls for a more detailed, uniform and nationalized system of sex offender registries; addresses issues of child pornography, Internet safety and civil commitment; creates grants for electronic monitoring; and revises the Immigration and Nationality Act to address immigrants who are sex offenders.

The Kentucky Re-entry Hotline, which provides support to people fresh out of prison, was one of eight national Innovations Awards in 2009 from The Council of State Governments.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act attempts to balance the need for housing registered adult sex offenders with citizen concerns about housing such offenders in residential areas. The Act generally limits the number of registered sex offenders who can live together in residential housing at two. However, it grants exceptions to this rule and gives cities and counties the authority to exceed the limit if the cities and counties meet certain criteria when locating residential housing for registered sex offenders.

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