JEFFERSON CITY - A Mo. House bill would loosen the requirements on registration for sex offenders.
More than one thousand registered sex offenders could be taken off the Missouri registry under the legislation.
The bill would separate offenders into three tiers, from the first tier being the least severe by allowing offenders to petition off the registry after ten years, to the third tier keeping the most severe offenders on the list for life.
J.D. Rees is manager of the Mo. sex offender registry for the Missouri Highway Patrol. He said there are currently 13,779 non-incarcerated sex offenders on the Missouri registry. If the bill became law approximately 1,111 could immediately petition removal from it because their ten years have passed.
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, referred to as SORNA, is a federal program that provides sex offender registration and notification requirements. The U.S. Department of Justice lists Missouri as one of the 19 states currently compliant with the law. This means the compliant states must meet the requirements from SORNA for registering sex offenders by collecting extensive information from the offenders including DNA and criminal history.
According to Rees, Missouri is one of the strictest states in terms of sex offenders laws in the nation, and the bill would let us meet minimum SORNA requirements.
Lawmakers heard opposition from Dr. Brian Oliver who said he has a P.h.D in criminal justice.
"There is no research that is shown that adopting this bill will reduce recidivism rates, but there is some research that has suggested that if we become SORNA compliant, sexual recidivism rates may go up," said Oliver.
Oliver is currently registered on the state's sex offender registry for multiple offenses against males under the age of 10.
While still retaining their status as sex offenders, the bill would remove all 114 juveniles from public websites.