Megan’s Law consists of the the following two components:
1. Sex Offender Registration
The 1994 Jacob Wetterling Act requires the States to register individuals convicted of sex crimes against children. Sex offender registration laws are necessary because:
- Sex offenders pose a high risk of re-offending after release from custody;
- Protecting the public from sex offenders is a primary governmental interest;
- The privacy interests of persons convicted of sex offenses are less important than the government’s interest in public safety;
- Release of certain information about sex offenders to public agencies and the general public will assist in protecting the public safety.
2. Community Notification
Megan’s Law allows the States discretion to establish criteria for disclosure, and compels them to make private and personal information on registered sex offenders available to the public. Community notification assists law enforcement in investigations, establishes legal grounds to hold known offenders, deters sex offenders from committing new offenses, and offers citizens information they can use to protect children from victimization.