Granholm Takes Another Step to Protect Children

Contact: Heidi Hansen 517-335-6397

July 8, 2005

Says State Will Join National Sex Offender Public Registry

LANSING - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Michigan will participate in the United States Department of Justice National Sex Offender Public Registry (NSOPR) to give state residents a new tool to help protect their children. The registry will use the Department of Justice’s computer technology to link state and territory public sex offender registries, allowing citizens a one-stop shop to access information beyond their own state boundaries.

“As sex offenders move from state to state, we must ensure that we are using every available technology to track them,” said Granholm. “This national registry will help protect Michigan children from anyone who might enter this state with intent to harm.”

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that as sex offenders travel across state lines, providing access to offender information beyond one’s own state increases the likelihood of identifying sex offenders in the area.  The new NSOPR will allow concerned parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends to conduct a single search to identify sex offenders nationwide.  To receive the same information now, a user would have to access each state’s registry.

The NSOPR will not require Michigan to develop any new technology and will be available to citizens at no cost.  The site is expected to be available for public searches by August 1.  The Department of Justice’s goal is to have 20 states, including Michigan, participating at the time of the site’s launch with additional states linked in the coming months.

Granholm has long advocated for increased protections for Michigan’s children.  In May, the Governor asked the Legislature to:

• create a “Protect Our Children” Act to require entities, such as schools and day care centers, to complete background checks on all employees and volunteers;

• establish “Predator Free Zones” – similar to existing drug-free zones – prohibiting convicted sex offenders from being within 1,000 feet of schools;

• allow evidence of prior child molestation and sexual assault to be admissible in court to prove the character of the defendant; and
 
• enact a lifetime ban on teachers who are convicted sex offenders, keeping them out of the classroom and away from our children.

The Governor reiterated her call for increased protections for children in a July 5 letter to lawmakers, which called for action on critical issues pending before the Legislature prior to the end of summer.

“We cannot rest until we are doing everything we can to protect our children,” Granholm said.  “This national registry will help our citizens to be vigilant about protecting our kids. We must act at the state level as well to ensure that sex offenders are nowhere near our children and ensure that new penalties are in place to show them we mean business.”