BOSTON – State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) announces that today the Massachusetts Senate unanimously adopted an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2014 Senate Budget that strengthens procedures for classifying convicted sex offenders and ensures that the Sex Offender Registry Board has the information it needs to protect our children and communities.
The amendment allows the Sex Offender Registry Board to reclassify a sex offender without a new conviction and authorizes the police and Sex Offender Registry Board to release information on Level 1 sex offenders to the Department of Early Education and Care. In addition, certain law enforcement officials will be allowed to provide information to the Sex Offender Registry Board that is relevant to the assessment of a sex offender’s risk to reoffend or degree of dangerousness.
Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders will be required to register within two days of being released from custody. The law currently requires Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders to annually register in person but does not specify when they must first appear after being released from custody.
The amendment also establishes information sharing procedures for the determination or reevaluation of a sex offender’s designation within the Sex Offender Registry Board and other state agencies and establishes a commission to develop risk assessment protocols for sexual offenders.
The Senate Ways and Means Fiscal Year 2014 budget recommendations also addressed the need to reform the state’s sex offender registry laws by including measures that Level 2 sex offender information be made available online and requiring the Department of Early Education and Care to cross-reference sex offender registry information with the address of a childcare program when licensing or approving childcare providers.
After receiving approval from the Senate, the budget will move to a conference committee with the House of Representatives. The final budget will go to Governor Deval Patrick for his consideration. The new fiscal year begins July 1, 2013.