Sex Offender Registration
According to this fact sheet, published by the State Statutes Project, every state has enacted a statute requiring a convicted sex offender to register his or her place of residence with a law enforcement agency. Although the statutes vary, most address a few common subjects: the length of registration; the items that must be included in the registration; and the availability of registration. According to the fact sheet, one of the ways that state laws on sex offender registration vary is in the length of time that the offender is required to register. Nineteen states, upon publication of this sheet, either do not specify any limit to the registration or explicitly state that offenders must register for life, four additional states require life registration for all but first-time offenders, nine states limit the length of registration to ten years, and in four other states the length of registration depends on the severity of the offense. The states differ in the information that they require to be included in sex offender registration. Among the information required by the various states are: name of the offender; descriptive information about the offender, such as date of birth, Social Security number, and physical description; aliases used by the offender; photographs; fingerprints; and blood and saliva samples. Federal law, according to the sheet, required states to enact sex offender registration statutes by 1997 or lose specific federal funding. The fact sheet includes tables that describe the types of information available and how long it's made available to the public.