Looks like the Attorney General of NC is revamping the NC Sex Offender online registry. The registry is often out of date, and I suppose some people think it is hard to navigate.
This seems like a lot of money to spend on a website revamping, though I suppose the data base work is complicated, especially since most of the state's databases are unique and require special programming.
As the article suggests, a database is only as good as the data, and there is only so much law enforcement can do to make sure that offenders keep their status updated. The "cell phone" tracking will be interesting to watch and will require some good technology to see where the offenders are going and whether that is in violation of the terms of probation. Of course, statistically, most offenders are molesting children of family and friends, and not hanging out at elementary schools, but it's a start.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE (11/20/06 - RALEIGH) - Convicted sex offenders will have fewer places to hide from authorities in 2007, say state officials who on Monday unveiled an updated registry Web site and satellite tracking system for the worst offenders
"The ultimate goal is to pull all of our resources together to help protect our kids," Attorney General Roy Cooper said after demonstrating to a House committee a new Web site touted as more friendly to citizens looking to monitor the state's roughly 9,900 registered offenders.
Legislators over the summer agreed to pay $200,000 for the upgraded Web site and passed a sweeping sex offender law. The law, effective Dec. 1, bars registered offenders from living close to schools or daycare centers or volunteering where they would interact from minors.
Cooper asked the committee to spend an additional $304,000 next year to pay for the mapping software and hire two workers to operate it.
Since 1996, people convicted of various sex-related crimes have had to register with their local sheriff.
The new law also orders the Department of Correction to create a program by Jan. 1 in which up to 300 of the worst offending registrants are monitored electronically for life. The monitoring involves ankle bracelets and other technology that tracks their positions by satellite.
Down the street from the committee meeting at the Legislative Building, a few hundred Correction Department probation officers learned about the new tracking law during a training session at a Raleigh hotel.
Robert Lee Guy, director of the Division of Community Corrections, told probation managers that the efforts will help the state keep a better eye on sex offenders out in the community. And unlike current electronic house arrest efforts, he said, the satellite monitoring isn't optional for a judge to order.
"We've got to pay attention," Guy said. "We can't leave any loopholes or cracks in sex offender management."
Registered criminals classified as sexual predators or repeat or violent offenders will have to carry a 15-ounce tracking device if they leave their home. A satellite tracks the person's location and alerts probation officers when they travel too close to a victim's residence or office.
Cell phone towers transmit the real-time information to probation officers. In the mountains, where cell phone service is tricky, the offender's movement will be downloaded daily when they come home and recharge the unit.
Guy said he knew of only six registered sex offenders that will be equipped with the device.
Chris Nichols Nichols Law Firm