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Sex offender classification process

Sex offenders will be classified according to the degree of danger they pose to the public and their likelihood for reoffense.

Preliminary classification

  • After an unclassified sex offender registers with the Sex Offender Registry Board, they're assigned for classification review.
  • The offender is given 30 days to submit information to the Sex Offender Registry Board regarding sex offender specific treatment, current lifestyle, employment and living situation, alcohol/drug abuse treatment and any other information the offender seeks to have considered.
  • The Sex Offender Registry Board also gathers critical information, such as victim impact statements, police reports, court records, probation and parole records, state and national criminal records, and other criminal justice records that identify the details of the offender's past behaviors and criminal activities.
  • A single Board member examines all of the above described materials obtained as part of the classification and considers a number of factors in the decision-making process. These factors are defined in the Sex Offender Registry Law and serve as a guide in assessing the current danger and risk of reoffense presented by each offender.
  • The Board member then issues a preliminary classification level recommending the offender be a Level 1 (low risk), Level 2 (moderate risk), or Level 3 (high risk). The level speaks to the degree of danger and risk to reoffend. The preliminary classification level is not accessible to victims or the public as it is not yet a final level.

The offender is notified in writing of his preliminary classification and has 20 days either to: (1) Accept the preliminary classification and waive his right to a hearing and an appeal, or (2) Request a hearing to challenge the preliminary classification. Acceptance in writing, or failure to respond on time makes a preliminary classification a final classification.

Classification hearing

  • A hearing is scheduled following the receipt of a written request from the offender. The offender is given copies of all of the materials reviewed as part of the offender's preliminary classification; this includes impact statements provided by victims. For safety reasons, the Sex Offender Registry Board asks victims not to put any identifying contact information on Victim Impact Statement submissions.
  • The hearing is conducted by a single hearing examiner, who may also be a Board member. The hearing examiner takes an independent view of all the materials and factors to be considered. Unlike the criminal trial process, the Sex Offender Registry Board hearing by law is not open to the public, including victims.

Final classification

At a later date following the hearing, the hearing examiner issues a lengthy written decision determining the offender's:

  1. duty to register as a sex offender, and
  2. the current risk level he or she poses to the public.

The Sex Offender Registry Board notifies the offender in writing of his final classification level. The offender then must register with the Sex Offender Registry Board as a Level 1 (low risk) or with the police as a Level 2 (moderate risk) or Level 3 (high risk). The level speaks to the degree of danger and risk to reoffend.

The offender has the right to appeal the final classification level within 30 days in Superior Court. The offender may also seek a court order to prevent the dissemination of his or her information to the public pending the appeal.

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