Auditor Bump’s Report Shows Improvement at Sex Offender Registry
Registration Fee Collection Still Not Consistent
BOSTON, MA (February 23, 2011) – Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today reported that the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) has demonstrated improvements in performance since its 2006 audit, but acknowledges the Board is still not consistently collecting registration fees.
The audit noted that SORB reduced 71% of the backlog in classifying sex offenders by streamlining the classification process and increasing the amount of hearing sites in the state from 7 to 38. SORB also cut the average time it takes to classify an offender from one year to 180 days and now re-registers 95% of classified offenders in the database.
Auditor Bump identified SORB’s collection of annual registration fees as an area that continues to need improvement. Sample testing of registrations showed SORB did not collect the $75 fee from more than 40% of offenders. However, at the time of the previous audit, SORB was not collecting any registration fees due to questions about its authority to collect the fee.
Bump’s audit also found that all police departments from communities with Level 3 sex offenders are now verifying addresses of sex offenders. According to the prior audit, 17 communities with Level 3 sex offenders had police departments that were not actively participating in the verification program.
The prior audit also disclosed that the Board took an average of 163.4 days to notify MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend the licenses of those sex offenders who failed to register. Auditor Bump reports that SORB is now averaging 90 days to report those who fail to register, and has agreed to further reduce that goal to 60 days.
“The Sex Offender Registry Board has made substantial strides in helping to protect communities by registering sex offenders quicker,” said Auditor Bump. “But SORB must continue to refine its systems and procedures to ensure better performance of this important public safety function,” said Auditor Bump.