New York launches online sex offender registry

New York has placed names, pictures, addresses and other information about high-risk sex offenders online.

The New York State Sex Offender Registry posts information about the highest-risk offenders online immediately after it is entered into the system. The registry can be searched by name, Zip code and county.

The state also reduced the cost of its telephone information line — used for more sensitive information — to 50 cents per call. People can call a sex offender information line for information about lower-risk offenders as well as more detailed information that is not available online.

Information such as modus operandi is not included online because of its explicit nature and the ease at which children could access it. That type of information is available at local police agencies.

The amount of information available to the public about sex offenders depends on offenders' risk levels. Information on offenders who pose a low risk is limited. But for high-risk offenders, much more is publicly available, including special conditions imposed by court or parole authorities.

All 50 states require sex offender registry and community notification. Twenty-one states provide some portion of their registries online.

REPORT CARD

"New Yorkers tap online eatery inspections" [civic.com, May 19, 2000]

"N.J. governor wants to post sex offender information on Internet"[civic.com, March 31, 2000]

Michigan offender site searchable [civic.com, July 28, 1999]

BY Daniel Keegan
May 30, 2000

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