A new neighbor moved in, and you have noticed that he spends a lot of time with the neighborhood children. A co-worker likes to make disparaging remarks against females. You have narrowed your interviewing process for a nanny, and now it is time to check things out. All of these and other scenarios can occur in everyday life, and, of course, you can’t be too careful about whom you or your loved ones associate with. There is a free method you can use to check whether your new acquaintance or friend is a sex offender.
Make sure that you have his correct first and last name. Sometimes, men prefer to use their middle name in everyday conversation and social settings. In addition, if he is a sex offender he may have adopted the use of his middle name to avoid detection. In a conversation about his life, you can ask him how his parents came to name him and make sure you have his correct first and last name. Don’t worry about getting his middle name as the process to check the sex offender registry allows you to narrow the field by location and other criteria.
Go to the Department of Justice website. Click on “Locate a Prison, Inmate, or Sex Offender.” As of 2010, this area was located on the right side of the page in a box called Department of Justice Action Center.
Locate the link for the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, and click on it. As of 2010, it was in the middle of the page about halfway down. A window will open up that contains the agreement for conditions of use. The agreement informs you that the information may not be current and that you won’t hold the site or government responsible for that. It also offers links to individual state’s sex offender conditions-of-use information. Each state has its own set of rules about what information it will release to the public regarding its registered offenders.
After reading the site’s conditions of use, click “Agree.” You will be taken to a new window where you will be asked to type in a series of numbers and letters. Type them in to get to the search window.
Type in the first and last name of the person you are checking on. Hit enter. Using the advanced search can be a next step; however, you don’t want to narrow the field initially as the person you are checking on may live in your area and fail to register. If he has been convicted in another state, you want to be able to pull that information.
Narrow the field if the person in question has a common name and dozens show up on the basic search. Remember to check not only your state but also the states of any areas the person said his family lives in or that he used to reside in.
Click on the name and picture of the person you are checking. Depending on the state you reside in, you will be able to ascertain certain information about the offender, such as when he was convicted, what the offense was and how long he is to be supervised. In some cases, it will also show what probation or parole departments are supervising him.
- Until a sexual offender is caught and convicted, he will not be on the sexual offender registry. Use appropriate cautions when it comes to your personal safety and that of your children even when the person you are concerned about does not appear on any registry.
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