Parents, and even seasoned attorneys who rarely handle juvenile delinquency cases, often have questions about whether a child will automatically be placed on the Indiana sex offender registry following certain adjudications. The current process in Indiana requires that the child be over fourteen (14) years of age, and that the child be on probation, on parole, or discharged from the Indiana Department of Correction, a secure private facility, or a juvenile detention facility following the juvenile’s completion of treatment and services for a specified sex offense. The court must hold a hearing to determine by clear and convincing evidence whether the juvenile is at a high risk of recidivism for a listed sex offense after considering expert testimony before determining whether the juvenile should be placed on the registry. IC 11-8-8-4.5. Many children will be evaluated using a tool called the ERASOR. An overview of evaluations of the ERASOR tool and the recidivism research is available here.
Most juvenile delinquents are not put on the registry. Those who are ordered to register are usually only required to register for ten years. IC 11-8-8-19.
SORNA (Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act) — often called the Adam Walsh Act — has not been implemented in Indiana, but at least sixteen states are considered in substantial compliance now. For many juvenile advocates, SORNA is too aggressive in requiring that all qualifying juveniles be put on the sex offender registry (“registry”) for life.
The 112th U.S. Congress considered the reauthorization of SORNA, including amendments to modify the juvenile registry requirements, but the bill died in the Senate after having passed in the House. A summary of that bill and the status of implementation at the time is available here.
A February 2013 overview of the national SORNA implementation and issues is available here.
Failure to fully implement SORNA comes with the loss of 10% of the Byrne/JAG funds, which for Indiana was equivalent to approximately $526,400 in FY12.