States Resisting Adam Walsh Act Risk Loss of Funding

by dmatson on April 12, 2011

The Adam Walsh Act, named after the killed son of America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh, puts some significant burdens on states in an effort to streamline the tracking of sexual offenders and solve outstanding offenses. But many states are opting to lose federal funding rather than take on the new rules, stating the law doesn’t improve upon systems already in place.

According to the Wall Street Journal this week, only four states have complied to the strict standards of the new law. The remaining states have until July 27 to make significant changes or lose federal funding. Many of those remaining have legislation pending that would get them into compliance, though some are choosing to not participate.

In Texas, where there is an anticipated $27 billion budget deficit in the next two years, lawmakers would rather see federal funding fall by the wayside than take on the new law that they say would cost $38.8 million. By contrast, the federal funding they would lose by not complying is about $1.4 million.

The executive director of the Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment states the new law and regulations would not make the general public any more safe and that the act “contradicts what our research over 30 years indicates.”

Other opponents of the measure are worried that the federal law would include the monitoring of juveniles and some who are considered “low risk” for reoffending. States like Arizona which uses a ranking system to determine who is more likely to reoffend and therefore should be monitored more closely, would have to change this highly specialized approach to a method prescribed by the Adam Walsh Act, one they are concerned is less effective than the approach in place.

Supporters, mostly the federal government, state that the costs to implement the program are overstated, pointing to Ohio who initially estimated the cost to be $18 million but found it only to cost $400,000.

They also state the Act has done well in catching sex offender fugitives who cross state lines. The U.S. Marshalls estimate they have made 1,000 arrests thanks to the new federal law.

It seems the problem comes in when states who believe their own methods are superior to those suggested by the Adam Walsh Act are essentially forced into making changes that would cost money and even perhaps weaken their sex offender enforcement programs already in place.

While a streamlined tracking process would be good, there are indications the federal law isn’t without problems, problems many of these states aren’t willing to take on.


Gail Colletta May 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I agree the states should not become compliant with the AWA. It is a known fact that it does not work. Most studies available have determined the AWA may be creating more issues for the public, does not make us safer and does cost too much tax payer money that is not providing a sound return for the investment. A risk assessment should be performed on all new offenders and on all offenders already convicted. Thise that are incarcerated and those on release. If it is a first offense, where as the offender is a low risk to reoffend and has passed the assessmant na dhas not had a hands on offense, they should be released, not have to register and be given an opportunity to move on to being a contributing member of society. We all make mistakes, even people convicted of a sexual offense as not all of the offenses should be a felony. The AWA paints all offenders with the same brush and that is wrong on every level. There should be no mandatory minimum sentences and there should be a second chance for a first time offender, if there was a non-violent offense that did not involve contact of a minor and the offender is a low risk to re-offend.

Valigator January 29, 2012 at 9:09 am

Oh c’mon Gail, now your an expert on what works and what doesnt when it comes to sex offender legislation? You joking or what? Why dont you cut out the crap and spell out for the good citizens why your on Your side of the fence.. Lady, your kid put his hand in the fire and now as his mother you figure you’ll troll thru the internet blaming the fire for him getting burned. Typical, How did you put it in your post? We all make mistakes? I doubt it.
“Colletta’s computer contained 49 images of child pornography, including children as young as an infant involved in sex acts.”
Gail let me make this clear. Every time you sign your name under that BS crap you wrote above..I’ll be right behind ya..I wonder how “non-violent” the family of that infant being raped that your son was getting “off too” feels about your post???

Valigator December 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Oh and Gail your own panel of so-called experts at the 2012 RSOL aka NAMBLA conference confirmed the AWA is WORKING for moderate risk offenders and has a good success rate. You were only standing 4 feet in front of the dias when Dr. Imhof admitted it. What? Doesnt go with your propagandized script? Doesnt fall in line with your agenda to make sure sex with kids has no repercussions? Does that tidbit of fact not fall in line with your goals of allowing offenders to slither back underground anonymously? You might want to check the resume’ of your so-called expert panel Gail. Seems one of your doctors was “asked” to resign for having an inappropiate relationship with one of the pervs she was getting paid to show ink spots to. Perhaps the legislators you pawn yourself off on should be informed of that little detail prior to taking her analytical opinions as fact.

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