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Registered Sex Offenders: Sharing More Information Will Enable Federal Agencies to Improve Notifications of Sex Offenders' International Travel

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2013
51 pages
This report examines how information sharing can improve Federal agencies' notification efforts regarding international travel by registered sex offenders.
This report to Congressional Requesters addresses two questions: how and to what extent does the Federal Government determine whether registered sex offenders are leaving or returning to the United States; and how and to what extent have Federal agencies notified foreign officials about the international travel of registered sex offenders. The research found that three Federal agencies use information from State, local, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions, along with passenger information obtained from Customs and Border Patrol to identify registered sex offenders who are travelling outside of the country. In addition, these same agencies may receive information from foreign officials on registered sex offenders who have plans to travel to and within the United States. The information provided by these officials is not always complete, nor is it automatically provided to various agencies. The research also found that data that one agency has on registered sex offenders does not always correspond with the data from another agency. These findings suggest that Federal agencies should implement procedures to ensure that the necessary agencies have all available information on the same registered sex offenders travelling internationally. This should make it possible for foreign officials to have comprehensive information on the travel plans of registered sex offenders, enabling them to make more informed decisions regarding public safety concerns. For this report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) analyzed data from the U.S. Marshalls Office, the U.S. National Central Bureau, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on registered sex offenders who travelled internationally in August and September 2012. The GAO also conducted interviews with officials from all 50 States, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia to obtain information on the policies and procedures that they use to identify and track registered sex offenders who have plans to travel internationally. Tables, figures, and appendixes