Sex Registration Affects an Offender’s Life

Penal Code section 290 allows law enforcement and the public to monitor the sex offender on a daily basis. It also restricts places a sex offender may visit and the people with whom he or she may interact. The law regulates a sex offender’s duty to inform law enforcement where he or she resides, law enforcement’s ability to track a sex offender’s movement through a global positioning device, where and with whom a sex offender may reside, what sort of jobs or volunteer positions a sex offender may accept, and the public and private places a sex offender may visit. (See, People v. Nguyen (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1168)

Public Disclosure – Megan’s Law

A state-maintained web site discloses information about the sex offender to the public (Pen. Code, §§ 290.4, 290.45). Section 290.46 subdivision (b) requires that the Department of Justice publicly disclose via the internet, the sex offender’s:

Name and known aliases A photograph

A physical description, including gender and race Date of birth

Criminal history

Prior adjudication as a sexually violent predator The address at which the person resides

Any other information the DOJ deems relevant

Static State-Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders (SARATSO) score

Information on an elevated risk level based on the SARATSO future violence tool. (See also § 290.45 [Law Enforcement Agency Authorized to provide information to public regarding registered sex offender when necessary for public safety].)

See also, https://meganslaw.ca.gov/SexOffenders_SummaryOfLaw.aspx


A Pen. Code, § 290 registrant is subject to monitoring and searches by the LAPD’s Registration Enforcement and Compliance Term (REACT) which works closely with the California DOJ, the Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams. The Team accompanies REACT units in periodic field compliance checks of the addresses of registered sex offenders.

A sex offender’s must submit to monitoring with a global positioning device while on parole and potentially for the remainder of the sex offender’s life if the underlying sex offense was one of several identified felonies (Pen. Code, §§ 3000.07, 3004, subd. (b)).

Exclusion from Public Places 


A prohibition against the sex offender “enter[ing] any park where children regularly gather without the express permission of his or her parole agent” if the victim of the underlying sex offense was under 14 years of age (Pen. Code, §§ 3053.8, subd. (a));

A prohibition against the sex offender residing with another sex offender while on parole and within 2,000 feet of a school or park for the rest of the sex offender’s life (Pen. Code, §§ 3003.5)


A prohibition against the sex offender entering any school without “lawful business” and written permission from the school (Pen. Code, §

626.81 [misdemeanor]); Enhanced penalties for the sex offender remaining at or returning to “any school or public place at or near which children attend or normally congregate” after a school or law enforcement official has asked the sex offender to leave (Pen. Code, § 653b [misdemeanor])

Daycare and Residential Facilities

A prohibition against the sex offender entering a daycare or residential facility for elders or dependent adults without registering with the facility      if the victim of the underlying sex offense was an elder or dependent adult (Pen. Code, § 653c);

Disclosure of Status When Applying for Jobs

A duty to disclose the sex offender’s status as a sex offender when applying for or accepting a job or volunteer position involving direct and unaccompanied contact with minor children (Pen. Code, § 290.95 (a) & (b) [misdemeanor])

Work Restrictions

A prohibition against the sex offender working or volunteering with children if the victim of the underlying sex offense was under 16 years of age (Pen. Code, § 290.95, subd. (c)).


Penal Code section 290 registration affects the care and custody of an offender’s child[ren] (see, Welf. & Inst. Code, § 355.1) including custody, visitation, child support, and disclosure of information (see, Fam. Code, §§ 3030, 3030.5) and an offender’s eligibility to receive in-home support services from Public Social Services. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 12305.87).



Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 established a comprehensive, national sex offender registration system called the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

SORNA aims to close potential gaps and loopholes that existed under prior laws, and to strengthen the nationwide network of sex offender registrations. SORNA obligates a sex offender to register and keep the registration current in each “jurisdiction” where the sex offender resides, is an employee, or is a student. (42 U.S.C. § 16913(a); United States v.

Hester (2nd Cir. 2009) 589 F.3d 86, 93.)

International Megan’s Law

In 2016, Congress enacted the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification

of Traveling Sex Offenders.” (42 U.S.C. § 16935c) The Act allows the United States Marshals’ Service’s National Sex Offender Targeting Center to notify the destination countries that a sex offender will be traveling to the country. (42 U.S.C. § 16935c; PL 114-195, approved 7/20/16) The Act also gives the Secretary of State authority to issue unique passport identifiers for sex offenders. (22 U.S.C. § 212b)

Operation Predator

United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has created a smartphone app – the first of its kind in U.S. federal law enforcement – designed to seek the public’s help with fugitive and unknown suspect child predators.

The Operation Predator app enables users to receive alerts about wanted predators, to share the information with friends via email and social media tools, and to provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip. Additionally, the app allows users to view news about arrests and prosecutions of child predators and additional resources about ICE and    its global partners in the fight against child exploitation.

DNA Submission 

Sex offenders must submit DNA samples to the Department of Justice DNA databank (Pen. Code, 296(a)(1)).


Certificate of Rehabilitation 

Any person required to register must register even if the person’s conviction has been expunged/dismissed under Pen. Code, § 1203.4, UNLESS the person obtains a certificate of rehabilitation and is entitled to relief from registration under Pen. Code, § 290.5. (Cal. Penal Code § 290.007)

Sex Offender Registry (Megan’s Law) Exclusion

The California Sex Offender Registry determines if any sex offender registrant who applies for exclusion from the Megan’s Law public web site qualifies for exclusion.

Registrants whose only registrable sex offenses are for the following offenses may apply for exclusion: (1) felony sexual battery by restraint (Pen. Code § 243.4, subd. (a)); (2) misdemeanor child molestation (Pen.

Code § 647.6), or former section 647(a); (3) any offense which did not involve penetration or oral copulation, the victim of which was a child, stepchild, grandchild, or sibling of the sex offender, and for which the sex offender successfully completed or is successfully completing probation; or

  • felony child pornography convictions (Pen. Code § 311.1, 311.2 subd. (b), (c) or (d), 311.3, 311.4, 311.10, or 311.11) if the victim was at least 16 years of age or older and that fact is documented in an official court document which you must submit to DOJ.

DOJ determines if a person meets the requirements for exclusion, based on official court documents. Registered sex offenders who are granted exclusion from the Megan’s Law public web site must still register as sex offenders. It can take from 30 – 90 days or longer for DOJ to process your application.


Penalties for Failing to Register (Pen. Code, § 290.018).

Misdemeanor Offenses

  • Any person who is required to register under the Act based on a misdemeanor conviction or juvenile adjudication who willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year.

Felony Offenses

  • Except as provided in subdivisions (f), (h), and (j), any person who is required to register based on a felony conviction or juvenile adjudication who willfully violates any requirement of the act or who has a prior conviction or juvenile adjudication for the offense of failing to register under the act and who subsequently and willfully violates any requirement of the act is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for 16 months, or two or three



California has adopted four risk assessment instruments for use in assessing sex offender risk of reoffending. The first one, the Static-99R, is used to assess male sex offenders presentencing and prior to release from prison. The Static-99R is based on static (unchanging) risk factors which predict the potential for sexual re-offending, such as age at release from custody on the sex offense, number of certain types of prior convictions, and victim characteristics.

By law, static risk scores are displayed on the Megan’s Law website, if a Static-99 or Static-99R score is available. Since risk assessment did not begin until 2006 in California, many offenders convicted and/or convicted before that date have not been scored on the static risk assessment instrument. An offender who is offense-free for at least 10 years in the community after release may not be eligible at that point for scoring on the Static-99R, unless he commits another sex offense or other serious offense.

Static-99R Risk Scores Static-99R Score Categories

Less than 1:              Low Risk

2-3:                             Moderate Low Risk

4-5:                             Moderate High Risk

6 or greater:              High Risk

The Static-99R score is used to predict risk of sexual reoffense, based on the sex offender’s score category (all offenders with a score of -2, for example, would be considered low risk to commit a new sexual offense).

Predicted Sexual Recidivism by Score Category, Five Years after Release from Custody* (Based on Routine Norms, Static-99R):

Score            Predicted Recidivism Rate

-3          0.9

-2          1.3

-1          1.9

0           2.8

1 3.9
2 5.6
3 7.9
4 11.0
5 15.2
6 20.5
7 27.2
8 35.1
9 43.8
10 53.0

* The predicted sexual recidivism rates are based on national research studies. For more detailed information about sexual recidivism in California, see Hanson, R.K., et al., 1 Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, No. 2, 102–117 (2014).


California uses the JSORRAT-II to assess juvenile sex offenders.

The JSORRAT-II was developed using an actuarial approach in an attempt to bring greater accuracy and utility to risk assessments for male juveniles who have offended sexually, recognizing the potential for accurate risk assessment to inform a range of decisions, including placement, programming, supervision, and other resource allocation decisions. By law, juveniles are not displayed on the Megan’s Law website, so their risk scores are known only to law enforcement and treatment professionals.


California uses the STABLE-2007/ACUTE-2007 to measure dynamic (changing) risk factors which are empirically related to the risk of reoffense. Examples of dynamic factors are alcohol abuse, changing relationship factors, and stability (or instability) in housing or employment. The STABLE and ACUTE are scored by sex offender treatment professionals during probation or parole, and the results are used to inform treatment and supervision terms and conditions.


The risk assessment instrument used in California to predict risk of violent reoffense by sex offenders is the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI). This instrument is also scored by sex

offender treatment professionals during probation or parole, and used to guide decisions in treatment and while the sex offender is on parole or probation supervision. Unlike the other official SARATSO risk instruments, the LS/CMI can be used to predict risk of re-offense with female sex offenders as well as male offenders.

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