Questions and Answers About the Sex Offender Registry

Click here to download this in pdf format

Who must register?

For how long must an offender register?

What happens if an offender fails to register?

How can one determine if an individual is listed on the Registry?

How much information can be disseminated about an offender?

Who is notified when a registered sex offender moves into a community?

How is an offender's risk determined?

What limits are imposed on a person who obtains information about an offender from the Registry?


Who must register?

New York law requires anyone on parole or probation, or incarcerated, for a sex offense on January 21,1996, to register with the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). In addition, sex offenders sentenced to probation, local jail, or state prison after that date must register upon their return to the community.

Back to Top

For how long must an offender register?

All sex offenders must register annually for a period of at least ten years. Offenders who are classified as "high risk" (or level 3) must also personally verify their address with local law enforcement every 90 days.

Back to Top

What happens if an offender fails to register?

The failure to register is a crime. A first offense is a class A misdemeanor; a repeat conviction is a class D felony.

Back to Top

How can one determine if an individual is listed on the Registry?

There arc several ways to access Registry information:

Telephone: A telephone service (1-900-288-3838) is available to the general public, Monday through Friday, except State holidays, during the hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. If the person inquired about is on the Registry, die caller will be advised accordingly and receive additional information depending on the offender's risk level.

A $.50 fee will be charged to the caller's telephone bill for each call. Up to five (5) searches of the Registry can be conducted per call.

A search can be conducted only if the caller has the name of the offender and at least one of the following identifiers:

To request information, a caller must be at least 18 years of age and must provide his or her name, address and telephone number.

Internet: Information regarding high risk sex offenders (level 3) may be accessed through the DOS website:

http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us

Local Police Department: Each month, local police agencies receive updated copies of the Subdirectory of High-Risk (Level 3) Sex Offenders which lists all level 3 offenders in New York State^The Subdirectory is made available for review by the general public, along with photo graphs of those offenders. Contact your local police agency for further information.

Back to Top

How much information can be disseminated about an offender?

The available information depends upon the offender's level of risk. For offenders determined to pose a low risk, limited information can be disseminated. A person calling the 900 number will learn only that the offender is listed in the Registry. For high-risk offenders, more information is publicly available, including the offender's

address, photograph, modus operandi, and any special conditions imposed by the court or parole authorities.

Back to Top

Who is notified when a registered sex offender moves into a community?

Pursuant to statute, a local police agency receives notification whenever a registered sex offender moves into its jurisdiction. That agency may notify schools and other "entities with vulnerable populations" about the offender's presence if he or she poses a threat to public safety and has a risk level of 2 or 3.

Back to Top

How is an offender's risk determined?

There are three levels of risk: level 1 (low), level 2 (moderate), and level 3 (high). As a general rule, the sentencing court will make the risk assessment either at the time of sentence (in probation cases) or when the offender is released from custody (in jail or prison cases). The law also establishes a Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders to make recommendations to the court in jail and prison cases.

Back to Top

What limits are imposed on a person who obtains information about an offender from the Registry?

The Act presumes that misinformation will be used responsibly to promote public safety. Persons or entities receiving Registry information may disseminate it to others at their discretion. The information may not be used to commit a crime against a person listed in the Registry or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment against such a person.

Back to Top

This information has been collected from information supplied by a collaboration of the National Crime Prevention Council, the National Sheriff's Association and Radio Shack.