FAQ

About Megan's Law FAQ

I have information about a registrant who is currently in violation. Who do I notify?

Please contact your local law enforcement agency to report any information you have on the registrant.

I know a person who is required to register. However, when I search the DOJ Megan’s Law Website, the person is not listed. Why?

Not all registered sex offenders are posted on the public Megan’s Law Website. Pursuant to Penal Code section 290.46, only some registrants can be posted online. For those who can be posted, only some registrants can have their home addresses posted, others are posted by ZIP Code only. There is another category of offenders which is not posted on the public Website. Additionally, a registrant may apply for exclusion from the Website, if he or she meets the requirements set forth in Penal Code § 290.46, subdivision (e).

Risk Assessment FAQ

How does risk assessment evaluate a sex offender’s likelihood of reoffending?

The assessment is based on research studies identifying things about sex offenders that when present, predict risk of re-offense, such as age of the offender, prior arrests and convictions for sex offenses and violent offenses, and type of victim.

How is a risk score calculated to rate an individual sex offender’s chance of reoffending?

Risk scores are calculated based on the re-offense rates of numerous sex offenders. When an offender has a score comparable to a large number of sex offenders on which the re-offense rates were derived, then the sex offender is expected to have a similar rate of sexual re-offense.

Does the risk level of offenders stay the same?

As offenders successfully live in the community without incurring new offenses, their recidivism risk declines. In general, the expected sexual offense recidivism rate is reduced if the offender has over two years of offense-free behavior in the community. The longer it has been since the offender’s sex offense conviction, the lower the expected recidivism rate, if he has not committed another sex offense or a new serious or violent offense. Offenders who commit a new sexual or other offense that resulted in a sentence of more than one to two months jail time, however, may not be at lower risk of sexual reoffense as time goes by, and may even be higher risk. (Static-99R Coding Rules, Appendix 1 at p. 59, online at www.static99.org.)

How accurate is risk assessment prediction?

Studies show that the Static-99R is moderately accurate in the ability to predict sexual recidivism. Risk assessments usually improve when additional risk factors, such as dynamic (changeable) risk factors, are also examined by trained professionals.

Can risk assessment help reduce sexual re-offense rates?

Research-based risk assessment helps probation and parole officers decide which offenders need more intensive supervision, including active monitoring with GPS, and helps inform sex offender management decisions by supervising officers and treatment management professionals.

Who is eligible to be assessed?

The Coding Rules (scoring guidelines) for the risk instruments define which sex offenders are eligible to be scored. Not all sex offenders are eligible to be scored on these tools. Generally, the Static-99R is used to score male offenders age 18 and over, but certain offenses do not qualify for scoring, and offenders who have been offense-free in the community for over 10 years may not qualify for scoring. The Juvenile Sexual Offense Recidivism Risk Assessment Tool-II (JSORRAT-II) is used to assess juvenile sex offenders if they are under 18 at the time of the risk assessment, when probation recommends placement at the state level (CDCR/Division of Juvenile Justice). The STABLE-2007/ACUTE-2007 are used to assess the same offenders as the Static-99R. The LS/CMI can be used to assess male and female offenders.

Why do some offenders have a Static-99 score and others have a Static-99R score?

The Static-99 was revised in 2009 and became the Static-99R, so some offenders were scored on the earlier version of the instrument.

Do certified sex offender treatment providers have to be trained on the State Authorized Risk Assessment Tool for Sex Offenders (SARATSO)?

Each certified sex offender treatment program (see www.casomb.org) must have at least one certified provider who has been trained by a SARATSO-approved trainer to score the dynamic (SRA-FV) and violence (LS/CMI) risk assessment instruments. Thus, when a certified program is run by a sole practitioner, that certified provider must have the required SARATSO-approved training. A program with multiple certified providers can elect to have only one person certified to do the scoring on these instruments.

What type of risk assessment information is available on sex offender registrant profiles on the Megan’s Law public website?

The name of the risk assessment instrument, score, date scored, and risk level are posted for the static risk assessment tool, if an offender has a Static-99 or Static-99R score. If an offender who is posted in the full address category on Megan’s Law has been scored as high risk on the state risk assessment for measuring violence, the LS/CMI, the person’s risk level will be indicated.

How can we get more accurate prediction than just being right 70 to 75 percent of the time?

Since there are no static risk instruments that include all the risk factors for sexual re-offense, the examination of additional risk factors, such as dynamic (changeable) risk factors will improve risk predictions. California uses dynamic and violence risk instruments that help improve predictive accuracy of risk of re-offense when considered together.

What type of sex offender risk assessments are conducted in California?

Static risk assessment (Static-99R) looks at unchanging factors in the offender's criminal history that predict risk. Dynamic and violence prediction instruments consider static as well as changing factors (e.g., mental health, substance abuse, employment, housing, relationship factors). Combining the scores on these risk instruments with the static score will improve the accuracy of risk predictions.

Who is eligible to be assessed with the Static-99R or JSORRAT-II?

The Coding Rules (scoring guidelines) for the risk instruments define which sex offenders are eligible to be scored. Not all sex offenders are eligible to be scored on these tools. Generally, the Static-99R is used to score offenders age 18 and over, but certain offenses do not qualify for scoring, and offenders who have been offense-free in the community for a number of years may not qualify for scoring unless they commit a new sex offense. The JSORRAT-II is used to assess juvenile sex offenders if they are under 18 at the time of the risk assessment.

Registrant FAQ

Why is my information posted on the California Megan’s Law Website?

Penal Code § 290.46 dictates the persons required to be displayed on the Megan’s Law Website. DOJ displays sex offenders on the Website in strict accordance with Penal Code § 290.46 and has no discretion to exclude offenders on a case by case basis. The offense for which you were registered, not the surrounding factual circumstances of the conviction, determine whether you will be posted, pursuant to Penal Code § 290.46.

I want to read the Penal Code and see what laws apply to me. Where can I go to do that?

The State of California provides a free legislative repository of the laws and bills of the State. Click here to access the California Legislative Information Website.

I have a question about my registration status, can DOJ advise me?

The California Department of Justice can not provide legal advice to registered sex offenders on any matter pertaining to their registration status. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.

My research indicates that I should not be required to register in California as a sex offender, who do I notify?

If you think that you should not be required to register as a sex offender in California, please contact an attorney or your local public defender’s office, who can work with you to address the issue with DOJ.

Can I have my information removed from the Megan’s Law Website?

Certain registered sex offenders may be granted exclusion from the California Megan’s Law Website. You can find more information about applying for exclusion here.

The information about me on the Megan’s Law Website is incorrect, how can I contact DOJ to update this information?

DOJ provides an e-mail service for the public and registrants to contact the registry with questions, concerns, or information. You can send an e-mail to DOJ here.

Can I view information about other sex offenders on the Megan’s Law Website?

Pursuant to Penal Code § 290.46 subdivision (k), persons required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290 are prohibited from accessing the offender search functionality of the Megan’s Law Website. You may be prosecuted and face imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1000 for accessing the offender search functionality of the website.

I’m being harassed because of my sex offender registration status. What can I do?

If you feel you are being harassed or threatened because of your status as a registered sex offender in California, immediately contact your local police department to report the situation.

I need additional information about the laws that apply to me in order to stay in compliance. Can DOJ assist me?

Though DOJ cannot provide you legal advice on most topics, we do provide some general overview of additional laws that apply to sex offenders in California. You can access that information here. For more general information regarding when are where you have to register, please work with your local registering law enforcement agency or contact an attorney in your area.

Where do I download registration related forms?

You can find more information about applying for exclusion, campus registration, and other forms here.