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Washington State Institute for Public Policy
October 1997
In 1996, Congress amended the federal law that requires states to register sex offenders. These amendments, known as "Megan's Law," authorize the public release of information about registered sex offenders when necessary to protect public safety. This report analyzes the 47 states with Megan’s Laws. These state laws can be divided into three categories, organized principally by the degree of notification: 1) Broad community notification; 2) Notification to individuals and organizations at risk; or 3) Access to registration information. This report also discusses implementation issues, offender harassment, and legal challenges to these laws. A summary of notification programs in other countries is provided.
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Madeline Barch
John Bauer
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