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State auditor Susan Montee has released an audit on Missouri’s sex offender registry. While the registry program has greatly improved over the past several years, the state admits that there is still work to be done. KSMU’s Justin Lux sat in on a conference call with the auditor and has the story.
The newly released report found that seven percent of Missouri’s sex offenders have chosen not to comply with the state’s registration requirements.
The number, however, is a significant improvement from 2002, when it was found that 36 percent of the offenders had not complied. Montee attributes the improvement to a number of factors.
“There are a lot of things. Allowing a more centralized system the way that we have it with the highway patrol, the internet based system. We’ve made a lot of changes to allow for better cross reporting. The way that the probation and parole is keeping track of people,” says Montee.
Montee also says there used to be no notification if an offender was re-arrested and put back in prison. That caused the person to be listed as non-compliant. She says now the state has been able to clean up the system and knows the whereabouts of all registered offenders.
While the audit does show that the state has been able to drastically reduce the number of offenders who have not registered, Montee says there are still a few areas that need improvement.
“We are not in compliance with the federal rules, the new federal rules. So we have only until next summer, so one legislative session, to make the legislative changes to bring us into compliance,” she says.
Missouri’s sex offender registry began in 1995. Since then, it has made improvements in covering more offenses and providing easily accessible information to the public.
For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.