Mississippi lists sex offenders online

Mississippi Sex Offender Registry

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Mississippi is the latest state to post a state sex offender registry on the Internet.

The state has nearly 1,300 convicted sex offenders listed on its Web site (www.sor.mdps.state.ms.us), which was launched Monday morning, said Warren Strain, spokesman for the state's Public Safety Department.

Users can search via name, city, ZIP code or county, but before they can search, they must read and accept a disclaimer warning that they may be prosecuted if they use the registry information to commit a criminal act. "We warn them not to act in a vigilante way," Strain said.

Mississippi law requires convicted sex offenders to register and check in with local sheriff's departments every 90 days, Strain said. The sheriff's departments then pass the information to the state Public Safety Department.

Strain said the state legislature enacted a law earlier this year requiring the dissemination of such data to the public, but it didn't specify how the information should be distributed. A $260,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department made the online registry possible, Strain said.

There are at least 23 states that have a complete or partial searchable database of sex offenders on the World Wide Web. All 50 states require sex offender registry and community notification.

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