Oklahoma May Lose Federal Funds For Not Complying With Sex Offender Law

Friday, October 5th 2012, 9:38 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma is losing federal funds because the state isn't complying with an international standard to track sex offenders.

The Adam Walsh Act creates an international tracking system so that if someone committed a sex crime as a juvenile, they could be tracked in adulthood and across state lines. Oklahoma is one of more than 30 states that haven't complied.

"I think it's a good idea every state should comply with the international law, I agree with it," Ryan Albright said,

Most parents do agree with it, but complying with the Adam Walsh act means The Department of Corrections would have to update its systems, which could cost Oklahoma hundreds of thousands.

"Thirty-four states total haven't complied with the Adam Walsh Act. That tells me there are real problems with the Adam Walsh Act," said attorney David Slane.

Every state's compliance was expected by 2006. The goal is to create a national sex offender registry to track offenders across state lines and set criteria for posting offender data online.

"Of course you like to have some uniformity among the states when it comes to the sharing of information the particulars and the details wind up being a call that the legislature has to make," said Trent Baggett, an expert on the District Attorney's Council.

Oklahoma lawmakers haven't changed existing laws to force juvenile sex offenders to register as adults, which would make the state partially compliant.

"The penalty we incurred (last year) was between 400-500 thousand dollars, but a lot of that money was recouped so that we could move toward implementation," Baggett said.

Oklahoma has to become substantially compliant to not lose federal funds. If the state is not compliant by years end the loss in federal grants for law enforcement is an estimated $300,000. The Department of Corrections said the matter is out of the agency's hands and compliance is more of a legislative issue.

If the state is not compliant with the law by the end of the year, we stand to lose an estimated $300,000 in federal grants for law enforcement.