Bill S557-2013

Expands the amount of information available about registered sex offenders on the division of criminal justice services website

Expands the amount of information available to police and the public, by means of the internet, on registered sex offenders; authorizes any person to register with the division of criminal justice services to receive e-mail notification of all sex offenders residing within their zip code.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO CRIME VICTIMS, CRIME AND CORRECTION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S557

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the correction law, in relation to the registration of sex offenders

PURPOSE: To make information about all registered sex offenders able on the Division of Criminal Justice Services home page provide for registration of automatic e-mail notification when offender moves into a resident's zip code.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Subdivision 6 of section 168-b of the correction law, as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2006 would be amended to change the reference to the subdirectory to a reference to the directory of sex offenders.

Section two of the bill amends paragraphs a, b and c of subdivision 6 of section 168-1 of the Correction Law to describe what information about a sex offender is available on the Division homepage depending on whether the offender has been designated a level one, two or three risk.

Section three of the bill amends section 168-q of the Correction Law to change the title of the subdirectory to the Directory of Sex Offenders and to authorize certain information about level one sex offenders to be made available on the Division homepage in addition to the current information which is made available on level two and three sex offenders. Also provides that DCJS shall provide on its internet home page a means for a person to register to receive notice by mail whenever a sex offender moves into their zip code.

Section four of the bill provides that it takes effect 180 days after it becomes law.

EXISTING LAW: Currently, the Sex Offender Registration Act does not require all sex offenders to be accessible on the DCJS directory website. In addition, the Division must maintain a subdirectory of Sex offenders which is distributed to all local law enforcement agencies monthly in addition to being maintained on the Division home page. In order to view the subdirectory, a person must provide his or her name in writing.

JUSTIFICATION: In New York State, a sex offender remains on the Sex Offender Registry for at least twenty years. Many offenders are required to register for life. A subdirectory of Sex Offenders is maintained on the Division of Criminal Justice services homepage. While this subdirectory provides valuable information concerning those offenders who have been determined to pose a moderate or high risk, no similar information is provided about offenders found to pose a low risk of re-offense. A person must call the 800 number

operated by the Division or be notified by a local law enforcement agency to learn of low risk offenders in the community.

To use the 800 number, the caller must have the sex offender's name and either the offender's exact address, date of birth, social security number or driver's license number. There is no fee for the 800 number. The 800 number has proved to be a useful screening tool for certain business and volunteer agencies however, it is not as useful for a person who wishes to know who may pose a threat to the community but does not know the specific identifying information required for an 800 number search. Making information about all registered sex offenders, based upon risk level, available on the Division home page will expand the utility of the Registry and enhance the safety of New York's most vulnerable citizens. Individuals and organizations who need access to Registry information will be able to obtain such information from any computer with access to the Internet without charge at a convenient time and will no longer be limited to calling the 800 number. In addition, by providing a mechanism whereby residents may register with DCJS to receive automatic e-mail notifications whenever an offender moves into their zip code will give individuals the peace of mind that they will be timely notified whenever there is an individual who may pose a risk living nearby. Furthermore, it takes away the burden of having to check the registry all the time to look for new offenders living in the community.

Currently, a local law enforcement agency is required, by statute, to provide public access to the subdirectory. Agencies accomplish this by providing a requestor with the use of a computer to view the subdirectory on the DCJS homepage.

Discontinuing access to the subdirectory at local law enforcement agencies will have little or no impact on the public. A number of law enforcement agencies have reported that the subdirectory is rarely, if ever, accessed by the public. While the public does not access the subdirectory at a police station very often, the subdirectory maintained on the home page is one of the most frequently visited sites on the Division home page. In December 2006, the subdirectory received 2,113,371 hits. Accessing the subdirectory at a law enforcement agency is a cumbersome task. A person wishing to view the subdirectory at a police station must ascertain the location and time that it is available for viewing. In many cases the viewing times are limited.

Further, many citizens may not feel comfortable requesting access at. a police station. In contrast, the directory maintained on the Division home page is accessible 24 hours a day from the privacy of home. Individuals who do not have home access to the Internet may access the directory at a public library at no charge or any business which furnishes Internet access for a fee. Moreover, any individual who accesses the directory from the Internet, may print the results of the search. Printing is often not an option when viewing the subdirectory at a police station.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2012: Senate Bill 1976-A (Gianaris) - Died in Senate Rules

Committee 01/09/08: Referred to Correction 02/12/07: Referred to Correction 2005/06: Similar to S.496-B Passed Senate/Assembly Correction Committees

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: 180 days after the bill becomes a law.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 557 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. GIANARIS, AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Crime Victims, Crime and Correction AN ACT to amend the correction law, in relation to the registration of sex offenders THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 6 of section 168-b of the correction law, as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2006, is amended to read as follows: 6. The division shall also establish a [subdirectory] DIRECTORY pursu- ant to section one hundred sixty-eight-q of this article. S 2. Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of subdivision 6 of section 168-l of the correction law, paragraph (a) as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2006, paragraph (b) as amended by chapter 513 of the laws of 2011 and paragraph (c) as separately amended by chapters 318 and 680 of the laws of 2005, are amended to read as follows: (a) If the risk of repeat offense is low, a level one designation shall be given to such sex offender. In such case the law enforcement agency or agencies having jurisdiction and the law enforcement agency or agencies having had jurisdiction at the time of his or her conviction shall be notified and may disseminate relevant information which may include a photograph and description of the offender and which may include the name of the sex offender, approximate address based on sex offender's zip code, background information including the offender's crime of conviction, modus of operation, type of victim targeted, the name and address of any institution of higher education at which the sex offender is enrolled, attends, is employed or resides and the description of special conditions imposed on the offender to any entity with vulnerable populations related to the nature of the offense commit-
ted by such sex offender. Any entity receiving information on a sex offender may disclose or further disseminate such information at its discretion. IN ADDITION, IN EACH SUCH CASE, THE NAME OF THE SEX OFFEN- DER, A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SEX OFFENDER AND APPROXIMATE ADDRESS BASED ON THE SEX OFFENDERS ZIP CODE SHALL ALSO BE PROVIDED IN THE DIRECTORY ESTABLISHED IN THIS ARTICLE. (b) If the risk of repeat offense is moderate, a level two designation shall be given to such sex offender. In such case the law enforcement agency or agencies having jurisdiction and the law enforcement agency or agencies having had jurisdiction at the time of his or her conviction shall be notified and may disseminate relevant information which shall include a photograph and description of the offender and which may include the exact name and any aliases used by the sex offender, exact address, background information including the offender's crime of conviction, mode of operation, type of victim targeted, the name and address of any institution of higher education at which the sex offender is enrolled, attends, is employed or resides and the description of special conditions imposed on the offender to any entity with vulnerable populations related to the nature of the offense committed by such sex offender. Any entity receiving information on a sex offender may disclose or further disseminate such information at its discretion. In addition, in such case, the information described [herein] IN THIS PARA- GRAPH shall also be provided in the [subdirectory] DIRECTORY established in this article and notwithstanding any other provision of law, such information shall, upon request, be made available to the public. Such law enforcement agencies shall compile, maintain and update a listing of vulnerable organizational entities within its jurisdiction. Such listing shall be utilized for notification of such organizations in disseminating such information on level two sex offenders pursuant to this paragraph. Such listing shall include and not be limited to: superintendents of schools or chief school administrators, superinten- dents of parks, public and private libraries, public and private school bus transportation companies, day care centers, nursery schools, pre- schools, neighborhood watch groups, community centers, civic associ- ations, nursing homes, victim's advocacy groups and places of worship. (c) If the risk of repeat offense is high and there exists a threat to the public safety a level three designation shall be given to such sex offender. In such case, the law enforcement agency or agencies having jurisdiction and the law enforcement agency or agencies having had jurisdiction at the time of his or her conviction shall be notified and may disseminate relevant information which shall include a photograph and description of the offender and which may include the sex offender's exact name and any aliases used by the offender, exact address, address of the offender's place of employment, background information including the offender's crime of conviction, mode of operation, type of victim targeted, the name and address of any institution of higher education at which the sex offender is enrolled, attends, is employed or resides and the description of special conditions imposed on the offender to any entity with vulnerable populations related to the nature of the offense committed by such sex offender. Any entity receiving information on a sex offender may disclose or further disseminate such information at its discretion. In addition, in such case, the information described [here- in] IN THIS PARAGRAPH shall also be provided in the [subdirectory] DIRECTORY established in this article and notwithstanding any other provision of law, such information shall, upon request, be made avail- able to the public.
Such law enforcement agencies shall compile, maintain and update a listing of vulnerable organizational entities within its jurisdiction. Such listing shall be utilized for notification of such organizations in disseminating such information on level three sex offenders pursuant to this paragraph. Such listing shall include and not be limited to: superintendents of schools or chief school administrators, superinten- dents of parks, public and private libraries, public and private school bus transportation companies, day care centers, nursery schools, pre- schools, neighborhood watch groups, community centers, civic associ- ations, nursing homes, victim's advocacy groups and places of worship. S 3. The section heading and subdivision 1 of section 168-q of the correction law, the section heading as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2006 and subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 532 of the laws of 2011, are amended to read as follows: [Subdirectory] DIRECTORY; internet posting. 1. The division shall maintain a [subdirectory of level two and three sex offenders. The subdirectory] DIRECTORY WHICH SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES ON THE INTERNET VIA THE DIVISION HOMEPAGE FOR PURPOSES OF PUBLIC ACCESS. (A) IN THE CASE OF A SEX OFFENDER WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN A LEVEL ONE DESIGNATION, THE DIRECTORY SHALL INCLUDE THE NAME OF THE SEX OFFENDER, A PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SEX OFFENDER AND APPROXIMATE ADDRESS BASED ON THE SEX OFFENDER'S ZIP CODE. (B) IN THE CASE OF A SEX OFFENDER WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN A LEVEL TWO OR THREE DESIGNATION, THE DIRECTORY shall include the exact address, address of the offender's place of employment and photograph of the sex offender along with the following information, if available: name, phys- ical description, age and distinctive markings. Background information including the sex offender's crime of conviction, modus of operation, type of victim targeted, the name and address of any institution of higher education at which the sex offender is enrolled, attends, is employed or resides and a description of special conditions imposed on the sex offender shall also be included. [The subdirectory shall have sex offender listings categorized by county and zip code. Such subdirec- tory shall be made available at all times on the internet via the divi- sion homepage. Any person may apply to the division to receive automated e-mail notifications whenever a new or updated subdirectory registration occurs in a geographic area specified by such person. The division shall furnish such service at no charge to such person, who shall request e-mail notification by county and/or zip code on forms developed and provided by the division. E-mail notification is limited to three geographic areas per e-mail account.] (C) THE DIVISION SHALL, ON ITS INTERNET HOMEPAGE, PROVIDE A MEANS FOR ANY PERSON TO REGISTER TO RECEIVE NOTICE AT SUCH PERSON'S ELECTRONIC MAIL ADDRESS OF ALL SEX OFFENDERS WHO RESIDE OR MOVE INTO THE AREA ENCOMPASSED BY SUCH PERSON'S ZIP CODE. THE DIVISION SHALL PROVIDE TIMELY NOTICE BY ELECTRONIC MAIL TO EACH PERSON WHO REGISTERS PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH OF EVERY SEX OFFENDER RESIDING IN AND OF EVERY SEX OFFENDER WHO MOVES INTO THE PERSON'S ZIP CODE. SUCH NOTICE SHALL INCLUDE ALL INFORMATION AUTHORIZED TO BE DISCLOSED ON EACH SUCH SEX OFFENDER PURSU- ANT TO PARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION. S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after it shall have become a law.

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