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Symposium

Please check back for any announcements related to SMART’s 2015 National Symposium on Sex Offender Management and Accountability.

SMART Workshops

The Justice Department’s Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking (SMART) recently held its 2014 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) Workshops Jan. 22-23 and Feb. 25-26, at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, S.C.

"Our primary mission is to help our state, tribal, and territorial partners meet their responsibilities for registering, tracking and notifying communities about sex offenders," said Acting Director of the SMART Office Dawn Doran. "We were very pleased to bring together and train the professionals whose work is so vital to the safety of our communities."

The SORNA workshops were designed to further assist states, tribes and U.S. territories to substantially implement SORNA, Title I of the Adam Walsh Act. Due to budget constraints, these were the first national SORNA training workshops since January 2011. Approximately 200 sex offender registry officials and law enforcement personnel attended the two-day SORNA workshops, where they participated in working groups and panel discussions, and heard presentations from faculty from the U.S. Marshals Service’s National Sex Offender Targeting Center, INTERPOL-Washington, the FBI DNA Laboratory, FBI-Criminal Justice Information Services, state, territory and tribal representatives and SMART Office staff.

"Attending the SMART Office’s 2014 SORNA Workshop was an invaluable opportunity," said Linda Schweig, Program Manager for the Violent Crime Information Center, California Department of Justice. "By literally bringing everyone into the same room, [the SMART Office] created a "one stop shop" to learn from our federal partners ... to collaborate on issues and discuss opportunities. Through the panels and break-out sessions, there were conversations and work started that will continue long after the conference. Overall, the opportunity to meet with so many other registering agency officials really highlighted the interconnectedness of our work and shared goals under SORNA."

Other jurisdictions also found the workshop beneficial.

Officer Jason Tarkong, with the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) Sex Offender Registry’s Department of Public Safety, found the workshop to be a great asset in keeping his jurisdiction SORNA compliant. "I made important contacts and started networking with other law enforcement from states, tribes and territories, and federal agencies," Tarkong said. "As a result, this helped CNMI improve the Sex Offender Program by writing new laws to meet the SORNA requirements. CNMI continues to maintain its substantial implementation status due to the continued training provided by the SMART Office."

SORNA Workshop participants also engaged in breakout discussions targeting specific issues on registration and notification for their particular jurisdiction and region. Every SORNA jurisdiction was invited and more than 150 jurisdictions were represented.

Since the establishment of SORNA, the Department has continuously assisted jurisdictions in implementing the Act by creating a comprehensive national system for tracking and registering sex offenders. To date, 82 jurisdictions (17 states, three territories and 62 tribes) have substantially implemented SORNA.

"The more I learn the more I realize how much I did not know," said Tarkong. "Thank you SMART Office for the education and wisdom provided to our little corner of the world. It is a pleasure to know with your help, we are keeping our islands safer."

The 2010 National Symposium on Sex Offender Management and Accountability

The 2010 National Symposium on Sex Offender Management and Accountability was held May 18-20, in Portland, Oregon. The Symposium provided jurisdictional representatives with advanced training to assist in their work towards implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), and offered nationally-recognized expert speakers and panel presentations in various areas of sex offender management and accountability.

The 142nd Fighter Wing International Guard began the 2010 Symposium's Opening Ceremonies by carrying the Colors to the podium as more than 600 law enforcement, social workers, probation officers, tribal representatives and attorneys from all over the United States looked on. The ceremony continued with singers from The Clackamas Elementary School Choir, The Oak Grove Elementary School Choir, and Representatives of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Remarks were delivered by Linda Baldwin, Director of the SMART Office, and Mary Lou Leary, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. In addition, there was a video address by John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted. The first day of the Symposium concluded with a discussion of comprehensive approaches to sex offender management, as well as a presentation on the sex offender tracking efforts of the U.S. Marshal Service, the Sex Offender Tracking Team at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the United States National Central Bureau of Interpol.

The second day of the conference included breakout sessions contained in three tracks: Comprehensive Approaches to Sex Offender Management, Indian Country, and Policy and other Considerations. Some sessions covered the information-sharing resources necessary for SORNA implementation. Other sessions included information and discussion on sex offender management, including law enforcement, supervision, and treatment provider roles, as well as juvenile and victim considerations. There were presentations on current research on offender registration and forensic interviewing of child sex offender victims in Indian Country. In addition, the second day featured a keynote presentation by Erin Runnion, surviving parent and founder of the Joyful Child Foundation-established in 2002 after the abduction, molestation and murder of her five-year-old daughter, Samantha Runnion-a great force in the movement to empower children, families, and communities against would-be abductors and sex offenders.

To end the symposium, Dr. Veronique Valliere, a clinical psychologist who works with sex offenders, gave two presentations, "Understanding Sexual Offenders" and "Deception and Detection," that helped attendees develop an understanding of sexual offense dynamics as well as the skills needed to identify deception by sex offenders. Dwight C. Holton, Interim United States Attorney for Oregon, delivered closing remarks focusing on the successful prosecutions under SORNA in his jurisdiction.

The symposium attendees received numerous practical resources and presentations throughout the week. As Mary Lou Leary, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General noted, "By communicating, working together, and sharing information, we are laying the groundwork for a seamless web of registered sex offender information."

For pictures from the 2010 National Symposium, click here.

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