The Washington Sex Offenders Registry was established in 1990 pursuant to the State Registered Sex Offender Law.The enactment of the law meant that all Sherriff’s Departments across the state were required to maintain registration information of convicted sex offenders who resided within their geographical jurisdiction. All the law enforcement agencies in Washington State are legally bound to ensure that offenders live at the addresses that they have reported in their registration forms.
How the Sex Offender Registration Act Works To Protect Children and Individuals Susceptible to Sexual Crimes?
At present, the age of registered perpetrators listed in the Washington sex offender database varies from 13 to 96; both male and female offenders are registered in the database. Convicts who have served time or were charged for sexual offenses are put into three levels depending on the nature of their offense.
While the Sheriff’s Departments are allowed to track and register convicted offenders, they have little authority when it comes to dictating where the offender may/may not reside. In contrast, the Washington Department of Corrections does have marginal authority to restrict offenders on parole or probation from residing in the vicinity of schools and other establishments that offer care, education etc to disabled people and children.
The benefits of the Washington Sex Offender Registry for the Community
The registration not only works in favor of law enforcement officials but also provides a valuable service to the community. Because the information gathered and maintained by justice agencies is freely disseminated to the members of the public, it helps them to protect their children and loved ones against high risk criminals.
However, it is imperative to understand that not all registered offenders in the database were convicted for sexual assault. In fact, even prosecutors believe that some amendments need to be made to existing Sex Offender Registry laws which will help people to get more in depth insight into the type of crime that an individual in the list is convicted of.
For instance, at this point in time, the Sex Offender Registry lists everybody from individuals who were caught urinating in public and thus convicted of indecent exposure in a public place and also felons who have served time for multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault.
Offender Segregation in the Registry and How to Understand the Results of Your Offender Search Based on it
Once an offender is released after serving time for his sexual misconduct, the Community Protection Unit of the Washington State Department of Corrections evaluates the individual based on the nature of his/her crime. This is done to establish a risk classification level for the offender.
The evaluation process includes a complex review and scoring procedure; throughout, the safety of community members is the top priority. The classification level and their meanings are as follows:
Level 1: As the number suggests, these are low risk offenders with minimal chances of re-offense.Only individual who do not exhibit predatory characteristics (gauged through in depth psychological testing and analysis) and those who have successfully participated in or are currently enrolled in treatment programs are listen in this category. In fact, many are first time offenders and their crimes are not violent in nature.
Level 2: Offenders with a higher propensity for committing the crime they were convicted of,criminal listed in Level 2 pose a moderate risk to the community given the nature of their crimes, involvement in other illicit activities and lifestyle choices like drug and alcohol abuse. Many offenders listed in Level 2 have failed to complete approved treatment programs or have refused to participate in them.
Level 3: These criminals pose the highest risk to society and often display predatory traits, seeking out their victims. The high risk criminals in Level 3 generally have multiple sexual offense convictions in their past along with the propensity to be involved in other nefarious activities. They have either failed or refused to undergo prescribed treatment programs, hence stand a very high chance of recommitting the offenses they were tried for.
How to find sex offenders in the state of Washington?
The Washington State Department of Corrections offers an online tool for community members to find convicted sexual offenders in their neighborhood. To use this tool, visit http://www.icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=54528
Just furnish your address, zip code and city name to get a list of all the sexual offenders in the locality. The results page will include information on the name and address of the offender along with the nature of his/her crime. Many counties do not provide information on Level 1 offenders given their lower risk level.
The Washington Sex Offender Registration Program was one of the original systems of its kind to be used in the country, and it was often used as a model by other states when forming their own Sex Offender registry laws and programs.If you are looking for additional information on the law pertaining to the program and the mandatory requirement for registration that it imposes on convicted sex offenders, these can be found in the Revised Code of Washington Stateat http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/