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Old 03-19-2005, 06:45 AM
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danielle danielle is offline
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Default Article: Barbour signs bill authorizing new way to track sex offenders

Barbour signs bill authorizing new way to track sex offenders

Thursday, March 17, 2005 1:21 PM CST

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - When Gov. Haley Barbour signed a new bill tightening the state's sex offender registry laws, he was surrounded by some of the young people he says the legislation is meant to protect.

Students from Nettleton Elementary School witnessed the signing of a bill that requires sex offenders to register with the state Department of Public Safety in person rather than by mail.

"This legislation greatly improves our ability to keep up with sex offenders who have either moved to our state or are convicted in the state and that is crucial," Barbour said.

Sex offenders will register in person every 90 days. The offender's photo becomes part of a state database and they are issued identification cards.

Previously, registration was conducted by mail, resulting in about 20 percent noncompliance, said Department of Public Safety Commissioner Rusty Fortenberry.

Now, if sex offenders fail to register within 90 days, their licenses are suspended and authorities in the county where they last lived are notified. A report is generated every 24 hours.

The law takes effect July 1.

"The main focus of this is to become more efficient in keeping up with where people are and hopefully get the noncompliance down to the single digits," Fortenberry said.

Sen. Sidney Albritton, R-Picayune, a former narcotics police detective who handled the bill for the Senate, said the facial recognition database is one of the most important aspects of the state's registry.

"So if you have a child that gets snatched at a local store, we can take the surveillance video and plug the image of the violator into the program. If it's a registered sex offender, we should be able to recognize them," Albritton said.

Fortenberry said when he took over the job as commissioner last year, he found the state's sex offender registry program outdated.

The registry is Internet-based. People can find out if an offender lives in their neighborhood by entering their zip code, and the name of every registered offender who lives in that county will appear.

The problem was that too many offenders were not supplying law enforcement officials with up-to-date information.

Fortenberry said his first move was transferring the program to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. He then met with representatives of the agency's vendor, Massachusetts-based Biisage Technologies Inc., and developed the more advanced program.

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The bill is House Bill 1034.
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Monica Danielle
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On September 22, 2003, my better half came home after 657 days in an Alabama prison!!!

And he's now forever free - passing away from this life and into the next - on January 9, 2010.

My Sweet Wayne
January 21, 1954 - January 9, 2010

I'll always love you.
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