What is the Sex Offender Registry?
There is no single sex offender registry. The federal registry often referred to is a collection of various state registries. OV’s Legislation page provides comprehensive information on federal and state laws. Both require those convicted of sex crimes to report to law enforcement agencies. This is true in Oregon for in-state convictions and those who move here from out of state with similar convictions. This information is transmitted to the Oregon State Police who maintain the registry.
The general trend of all state registries has been to expand, becoming more accessible to the public and involving more onerous requirements. The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 encouraged all states to standardize their registries. But only 17 states are fully compliant with AWA standards and that has led to the current hodgepodge, with very different registry laws and requirements in each state. In practical terms, that means that travel to any other state may involve registering there as well.
How does the Oregon Registry Differ from Most States’ Registries?
Probably the biggest difference in the Oregon registry grew out of a bill passed in 2013. While SORNA has Tiers that are based on the category of crime, Oregon adopted and moved toward a modified risk-based registry with Levels. Research has shown that the crime someone is charged with does not correlate with their risk of recidivism. Research also reveals that those convicted of sex offenses have very low rates of recidivism as explained in Myths and Facts.
How Does Oregon Determine Risk?
Oregon made the choice to use the Static 99R actuarial tool to assess risk of recidivism for most adult males. Scores up to 3 are classified as Level 1 (low risk), scores of 4-5 as Level 2 (moderate risk), and scores of 6 and above as Level 3 (high risk). For juveniles, women and some registrants with non-contact crimes, the LS-CMI (Level of Service-Case Management Inventory) is used instead of the Static 99R. Individuals released from prison and those moving into the state are currently scored quickly. Many people previously on the registry have not yet been scored and assigned to a risk level. Anyone who believes that they might be classified at Level 1 can apply for classification.
What Does Risk Classification Mean for an Individual Registrant?
An individual’s risk classification level determines the amount of community notification they will be subject to and whether their name will be posted on the public website (as discussed under Legislation). Additionally, only those classified at Level 1 may apply for relief from registration.
Why Do We Call the Oregon Registry a Modified Risk-based System?
Recent Static 99R research data emphasizes low recidivism no matter what the offense. Using this standard, all would eventually be eligible to get off the registry. But opposition during the legislative process in 2013 resulted in categories of crime and risk that would not be available for relief. Additionally, later legislation added crimes committed subsequently that would prevent registry relief. This is summarized on the Oregon Board of Parole website.
Can Anyone Classified at Level 1 Who is Not in a Disqualified Category Apply for Relief?
Only people who have been off supervision for at least five years may apply. Those who have been reclassified from Level 2 to Level 1 must spend five years at Level 1 before they may apply for relief.
Does the Process Require an Attorney?
No. Some individuals have successfully negotiated the system on their own, but a successful application will require careful attention to the documentation listed on the Board of Parole’s website. Most carefully prepared applications are successful. Many of the unsuccessful applications fail because they have not addressed the required areas adequately.
How Do I Apply for Relief from Registration?
Start by visiting the Oregon Board of Parole website. It provides an overview of how the relief process works and what the board expects to see in a successful application.
Oregon Voices has created a tool, a Relief from Registration chart, to help individuals understand how Oregon laws on relief will affect them, including whether and when they might be eligible to apply.