Megan’s Law is an informal name for laws in the United States requiring law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders. Each state decides what information will be made available and how it should be disseminated. Generally, the information includes the offender’s name, picture, address, incarceration date, and nature of crime. Often, the information is displayed on free public websites, and can be published in newspapers, distributed in pamphlets, or through various other means.
Megan’s Law is known as the Sexual Offender (Jacob Wetterling) Act of 1994 at the Federal level, and requires persons convicted of sex crimes against children to notify local law enforcement of any change of address or employment after release from custody (prison or psychiatric facility). The notification requirement may be imposed for a fixed period of time which is usually at least ten years or permanently.
Megan’s Law provides two major information services to the publicsuch as sex offender registration and community notification. The information provided as part of sex offender registration and how community notification is handled vary from state to state. Moreover, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act supplements Megan’s Law with new registration requirements.