The federal government is requiring all states to comply with new standards of sexual offender control or face loss of funding. The state of Texas, with the second largest sex offender registry in the nation, is grappling with the costly mandates during a budget crisis, questioning the need for such costly measures.
According to the Houston Chronicle the state has until July 26 to make necessary changes or face the loss of 10% of federal funding under the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, amounting to $2.2 million. But, the changes being ordered by the federal mandate would cost an estimated $38.8 million.
Under the state’s current requirements, sex offender registration is based on the risk of reoffending. The federal Adam Walsh Act would require registration rules based on the offense at hand and could result in having many more registered sex offenders, some being required to register as often as once every 3 months.
Under the Act, the state registration would group sex offenders into three tiers, each tier having different requirements based on the offense. Under current laws, sex offenders in Texas have to register for 10 years or for life, two simple options.
While officials are “balking” at the new and costly requirements, they are simultaneously putting out statements of support. A spokesperson for Governor Perry states “We support efforts to increase the monitoring of and penalties for these criminals.” There are opponents, however, though they are mostly opposed to the tight deadline and potential loss of funds.
Time will tell if the state makes the July deadline or if they allow it to pass. While they try to balance cost with public safety, failing to follow through on the mandates could mean backlash from the community.
Despite the arguable effectiveness of sex offender tracking, people are largely supportive of very tight restrictions on people who have been convicted of such crimes. These crimes, more than any others, are heavily stigmatized, making them particularly difficult to live down once charged.
Even if you are eventually acquitted or the charges are dropped, a sex offense charge can change your life forever. Having a defense attorney on your side that is experienced in these sort of cases can help minimize the impact they have on your life.
When charged with rape, child molestation, and even solicitation, you can face untold consequences in your personal and professional life. Marriages and businesses have fallen apart over charges like these and the state of Texas only plans on making it worse.
If you’re facing charges of a sexual nature, contact our attorneys today.