For Immediate Release
MADIGAN, I-SORT LAUNCH PROGRAM TO ASSIST IN LOCATING NON-COMPLIANT SEX OFFENDERS
Chicago - Joined by the Director of the U.S. Marshal’s Service and other members of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry Team (I-SORT), Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced the launch of “Operation Location Unknown.”
“Operation Location Unknown is a coordinated strategy between the public and local, state and federal law enforcement to help track down and locate Illinois’ most challenging non-compliant sex offenders,” Madigan said.
Since the creation of I-SORT in December 2003, the team has worked consistently to improve the sex offender registry and locate offenders who violate the registration laws. While the Illinois Sex Offender Registry now contains more useful and accurate information than ever before, I-SORT continues to encounter groups of offenders whose information on the registry is inaccurate or their location is completely unknown.
“As a result of our continuing efforts, compliance with the registry laws is now more than 92 percent. However, we have more work to do and must continue to search for the most effective ways to track and charge non-compliant sex offenders,” said Madigan.
To that end, Madigan today announced a partnership between her office, the Chicago Police Department, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the U.S. Marshal’s Service to focus on tracking non-complaint offenders. As part of this initiative, these law enforcement agencies will work together to locate the most challenging group of non-compliant sex offenders – those who have failed to register upon release from prison.
Madigan said that during the past 18 months, a growing number of offenders discharged from prison have failed to register in the community in which they told the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) they would be residing. This category of offenders is particularly difficult to locate because although they provided IDOC with an address, there is no information on where they actually reside. Because they have not registered properly, there is no “home” law enforcement agency to take the lead on investigating the case. Since January 2005, 252 offenders have failed to register after their release from prison.
As part of this effort to track these offenders, I-SORT is seeking the public’s assistance. Specifically, each month, Madigan’s website, www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov, will spotlight 10 non-compliant sex offenders whose address is listed as “location unknown.” The U.S. Marshal’s Service also will include a link to Madigan’s website and the public will be able to access a dedicated e-mail address to report information they may have about each month’s target offenders. The public will be able to e-mail Madigan’s office at email@example.com in addition to using the I-SORT Hotline at 1-888-41-I-SORT (1-888-414-7678).
Madigan said anonymous tips are welcomed, and the I-SORT partners will evaluate and respond to the tips. Ten new targets will be added to the website each month.
“Every fugitive still on the street represents a victim whose case is not closed. Our job is to be the voice of that victim,” said Marshals Service Director John Clark. “By launching Operation Location Unknown, we will focus on those unregistered sex offenders in Illinois who don’t want to be found. This is another example of how the cooperation among various law enforcement agencies will ultimately lead to safer streets for our children.”
“All of us will work to implement this strategy to track non-compliant offenders who mistakenly feel they can ignore our laws,” Madigan said.
“The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police welcomes this opportunity to continue our work with Attorney General Madigan in locating non-compliant sex offenders in Illinois,” said Chief Larry Burnson, president of IACP.
I-SORT is a collaborative effort of Madigan’s office, the Illinois State Police, IDOC, the Chicago Police Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, IACP and the Illinois Sheriff’s Association.The Illinois Sex Offender Registry can be located at www.isp.state.il.us