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State sex offender registry out of date with DPS backlog

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Alabama’s online state registry of convicted sex offenders is months out of date because of a backlog of records being posted by the state Department of Public Safety.

Jefferson County sheriff’s officials said they send information on offenders’ whereabouts to the state once a week to be listed on Alabama’s online registry.

But months sometimes pass before the state gets the information on the Web site.

“The state is six months behind,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Randy Christian said.

Inconsistencies

For example, 556 sex offenders appear on both the state and county lists for Jefferson County, but 135 more appear only on the list maintained by the county, and 120 appear only on the list maintained by the state.

The backlog at the Department of Public Safety creates inconsistencies between the state and local lists available to the public via the Internet.

In Jefferson County, 96 sex offenders, or 12 percent of the county’s total, are on both the state and county lists, but are listed at different home addresses on each.

Changes slow

Also, 36 sex offenders who are listed on the state list as currently living in homes or apartments in Jefferson County are actually in state prison or the county jail, according to the county list.

States have been required
by federal law since 1994 to maintain listings of sex offenders.

The Department of Public Safety has four full-time employees dedicated to the task of maintaining the state’s registry Web site.

Public Safety officials said the delay in posting information ranges from days to months, depending on the nature of the information.

Growing problem

Information provided by law enforcement agencies in other states, for example, takes the longest to get on the site because department lawyers must examine it.

A lack of resources and a steady increase in the number of registered sex offenders in the state adds to the delay in posting names, said Renita Ward, an analyst with the department.

“We have more and more offenders every single day,” she said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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