Resolution in Opposition of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act as it Applies to Juvenile Offenders

NOTE: This resolution has expired.

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All Resolutions Passed at the 2009 Annual Conference

WHEREAS, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) requires that juvenile sex offenders age 14 years and older be included on both state and national public sex offender registries;

WHEREAS, under SORNA, sex offender registries may publish the addresses of a juvenile offender’s home, school or work, a photograph and description of the juvenile, and license plate number;

WHEREAS, these provisions of SORNA contradicts the rehabilitative intent and confidentiality that has been inherent in the juvenile justice system;

WHEREAS, SORNA ignores important developmental differences between juveniles and adults, namely that juvenile sex offenders are at a much lower risk to reoffend than adult sex offenders;

WHEREAS, SORNA further ignores evidence that a youth’s brain is still developing until their early twenties, meaning juveniles are not fixed in their sexual offending behavior and may respond well to treatment;

WHEREAS, juveniles have fewer numbers of victims than adult offenders, and on average, engage in less serious and less aggressive behaviors;

WHEREAS, juvenile sex offenders do not pose the same public safety threat as adult sex offenders;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments strongly opposes SORNA’s application to juvenile sex offenders and urges Congress to revise the law to more accurately address the needs of juvenile offenders.

Adopted this 6th day of December, 2008 at the CSG 75th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.