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CTUIR implements sex offender registry

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According to the Department of Justice, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is the first tribe in the nation to comply with, and implement, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act passed by Congress in 2006.

CTUIR and the state of Ohio are the first two jurisdictions in the country to comply with SORNA (commonly known as the Adam Walsh Act), according to the Justice Department.

“We are pleased to announce the first two jurisdictions to substantially implement this important legislation,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. “We are committed to working with the remaining states, tribes and localities with their implementation efforts.”

“We understand the importance of working together to protect our communities by creating a national system of sexual offender registries. Sharing information about registered sex offenders with the public is a key part of keeping our community informed and safe. We are pleased that the Department of Justice has deemed our registry to be in substantial compliance with the Adam Walsh Act and I am proud of the work our staff has done to get us to this point,” said Antone Minthorn, CTUIR chairman of the board of trustees.

While CTUIR has worked extensively in the past three years to implement SORNA, it recognizes that Congress passed the legislation without appropriate input from tribes and the legislation contains many sections that should be amended to properly address tribal compliance with the law. CTUIR has developed an extensive list of changes needed in the legislation to clarify and properly address tribal compliance with SORNA.

“As tribes across the nation work towards compliance, we hope Congress will revisit the act and make the changes necessary to properly address tribal jurisdictions and their compliance with the law,” Minthorn said.

CTUIR Deputy Attorney General M. Brent Leonhard, who helped author a model code for tribes to use in implementing SORNA, says the act is not properly funded.

“Each tribe likely needs in the neighborhood of $300,000 a year to establish a small, fully compliant, registry. With 197 tribes having opted in, Congress needs to appropriate approximately $60 million a year over the course of the next several years directly to tribes for SORNA implementation. Tribes need money to hire experts that can assist them in developing registries, obtain necessary equipment, hire experts to assist in negotiating and developing agreements with states that may be necessary, and hire and train staff to run the registries. The costs can vary depending on the size of the tribe and number of individuals that will be subject to registration requirements.”

The CTUIR Board of Trustees adopted its Sex Offender Registration Code in March 2009, the code is available to the public online.

As part of the requirements to comply with SORNA, CTUIR has established a new Web site the public can use to find information about registered sex offenders and receive notifications of registered sex offenders residing or working on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.