Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

BJS Summarizes State Sex Offender Registries

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, released a state-by-state summary of the Sex Offender Registries (SOR's) throughout the United States. The report, released in March 2002, compared the states' SOR's in February 2001 to BJS's prior reports in 1998 and 1999. These reports were produced by the National Sex Offender Registry Assistance Program (NSOR-AP), a BJS operation. NSOR-AP helps states participate in the FBI's National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) and to fulfill the requirements of the Jacob Wetterling Act (Pub.L. 104-145, 110 Stat. 1345), Megan's Law, and the Pam Lyncher act (Pub.L. 104-236, 110 Stat. 3093).

In 1998, there were 263,166 registered sex offenders throughout the United States. In February 2001, the 50 States and the District of Columbia reported 386,112 registered sex offenders, a 47% increase. Different states, however, varied in the number of registered offenders and the percentage increase. These differences were due to several factors, including the number and type of offenses requiring registration, the date of offense requiring registration, and the duration of the registration.

The top 10 states in terms of number of registered sex offenders in 2001 were California (88,853), Texas (29,494), Michigan (26,850), Florida (20,000), Illinois (16,551), Washington (15,304), Wisconsin (11,999), Indiana (11,656), New York (11,575), and Arizona (11,500). Massachusetts had about 17,000 sex offenders who qualified to register, but at the time of the survey, the Massachusetts SOR was under a superior court injunction, so Massachusetts' numbers were not counted in the report. The bottom 10 states were Maine (473), Wyoming (682), North Dakota (766), West Virginia (950), Nebraska (1,120), New Mexico (1,171), South Dakota (1,182), Maryland (1,400), Rhode Island (1,424), and Hawaii (1,500). The District of Columbia had 303 registered sex offenders in 2001, up from 50 in 1998. The state with the largest percent increase from 1998 to 2001 was Washington; the SOR increased 993%. Other states with huge growths were Alabama (up 659%), Rhode Island (422%), Ohio (319%), Georgia (280%), Maryland (250%), and Arkansas (206%). Another seven states saw their SOR's grow more than 100% between 1998 and 2001.

Twenty-two states collect and maintain DNA samples as part of their SOR. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have publicly accessible websites containing searchable information on sex offenders in their SOR, up from six states in 1998 and fifteen states in 1999. The report contains an appendix summarizing the dissemination and community notification provisions of each state. States with websites also had their web addresses listed. Other methods of disseminating information were listed in comments in the appendix.

One copy of this report is free upon request by writing the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, D.C. 20531. Request report number NCJ 192265, "Summary of State Sex Offender Registries, 2001." Detailed state summaries of each state's SOR can be viewed online at Abstracts of the prior reports are also available.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login