Home News Center Delaware Revises Mandatory Registration Policy for Youth Convicted of Sexual Offenses

Delaware Revises Mandatory Registration Policy for Youth Convicted of Sexual Offenses

August 15, 2013
Zoe Schein

juvenile-justice-reform_RambergMedialImagesLast month, thanks in part to the Delaware Center for Justice (DCJ) -- an NJJN member -- the Delaware legislature passed H.B. 182, a bill that will give judges discretion regarding the registration of youth convicted of sexual offenses. 

Previously, adjudication for sexual offenses meant automatic, mandatory registration. Now, judges may determine on a case by case basis whether a youth under the age of 14, or between 14 and 17 and convicted of a non-violent offense, will be required to register. H.B. 182 was signed into law on July 18, 2013, and is retroactive.  

DCJ worked closely with the Office of the Public Defender for Delaware and the Office of the Child Advocate and convened a juvenile justice committee comprised of multiple stakeholders to create awareness around the issue of youth sex offender registration and generate support for the bill. 

Joanna Champney, Executive Director of DCJ, said of the victory, “Sexual offenses are a serious issue, and when the offender is a juvenile, this can be a particularly heartwrenching situation.  After four years of advocacy, we’re proud that Delaware has responded to the national evidence that public registration policies for juvenile sex offenders are damaging kids and aren’t making the community safer.  The new law allows judges to make more appropriate decisions on a case by case basis when deciding in these very difficult cases which youth should be required to publicly register. This legislative change represents smart sentencing reform because it considers public safety and child development.” 

 Photo: RambergMedialImages.


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