For Immediate Release
MADIGAN, I-SORT PARTNERS ANNOUNCE RESULTS OF SEX OFFENDER COMPLIANCE CHECK IN BLOOMINGTON
Bloomington – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that investigators from her office and partners from the Illinois Sex Offender Registry Team (I-SORT) conducted a compliance check this morning in Bloomington to ensure sex offenders are residing in the locations where they are registered and not evading detection by law enforcement officials.
I-SORT members conducted an early morning sweep to verify compliance with state registration laws by the approximately 123 sex offenders currently registered as living in Bloomington. One hundred seven of the targets are child sex offenders.
Madigan was expected to be joined at an afternoon news conference to announce the results of the focused sex offender compliance operation by McLean County Sheriff David Owens, representatives of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and Illinois State Police (ISP) and Vicky Smith, Director of the Sexual Assault Program for “Stepping Stones” in Bloomington.
“Sex offenders are only required to register with local law enforcement once every year, so it is important to conduct compliance checks to make sure we know where they are as often as possible,” Madigan said. “To supplement local law enforcement resources, I-SORT members travel to different parts of the state to verify that sex offenders are in compliance and update the state’s registry with the latest information regarding their whereabouts.”
Madigan continued, “Today’s operation sends a strong message to sex offenders that law enforcement is watching and that if they fail to comply with the law, law enforcement will respond swiftly.”
Madigan created I-SORT in December 2003 to combat non-compliance and other problems with the state sex offender registry, and I-SORT has since undertaken comprehensive and ongoing efforts to improve the registration process and solve problems with the system.
In the past year, I-SORT members have conducted targeted raids and used tips from the sex offender hotline to locate non-compliant offenders, worked to improve the accuracy of the information on the sex offender Web site and launched a public awareness campaign to publicize the importance of the Web site as a tool to protect families.
As of July 5, ISP statistics show compliance with Illinois’ sex offender registration requirements is at 92.8 percent . The new compliance figures show that out of the 18,067 Illinoisans required to register as sex offenders, only 1,294 have failed to do so.
Madigan said that when I-SORT was first created in December 2003, only 86 percent of Illinois’ sex offenders were compliant with the registration requirements. Madigan noted that while I-SORT members are pleased with this increase in compliance, they are continuing their extensive efforts to improve the accuracy and usefulness of the information on the registry.
In a continued effort to make the state’s sex offender registration laws more effective, Madigan last year drafted and helped to pass legislation that amends the Sex Offender Registration Act. Under the new provisions, offenders who are convicted of violating the Sex Offender Registration Act by avoiding annual registration or other requirements now must register with the state every 90 days. Because offenders previously had to register only once a year, the new requirement is intended to tip off law enforcement a full nine months earlier if a sex offender fails to register.
In addition, offenders now are required to register with law enforcement within five days of sentencing for probation or release from prison, cutting their “grace period” in half from the previous 10 days they had to register. Also, sex offenders who lack a fixed residence are required to report to local law enforcement on a weekly basis until they find a residence and properly register. Sex offenders who are convicted multiple times for violations of the Act will be charged on the second or subsequent offenses with a Class 2 felony, punishable by three to seven years in IDOC.Madigan and I-SORT also have drafted numerous other successful initiatives, including laws requiring sex offenders to have their photos taken each year when they register to ensure the offenders’ photos are up to date.