Over the last few decades, states all across the country – including Pennsylvania – have established programs that require people convicted of various sexual offenses to register as sexual offenders. These registry programs may vary from state to state but all are essentially ways in which these defendants are monitored by law enforcement and even may provide some ability for members of the public to know who they are and where they live.
In Pennsylvania, the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board indicates that the amount of time for which a person has to maintain their registry depends on the offense for which they were convicted. There are three levels of offenses, Tiers 1 through 3, each with their own required length of registration. Tier 3 offenses result in lifetime registrations, tier 2 offenses mandate registrations for 25 years and tier 1 offenses require defendants to register for 15 years.
In the early part of 2018, the state reviewed and made changes to the laws that governed registration length. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, this reduced the length of time that some people were required to register for. For other defendants, it discharged their need to register as sex offenders.
Regardless of the registration length, the system requires that people provide a new photo every year. Other information collected by the program includes all names the person is known by, an overview of their alleged crime and the location of where they live, work or attend school. Exact addresses for a person’s residence, place of work or school are not released or shared with the public.