The state Senate on Wednesday approved legislation that would close a loophole in the state’s Sex Offender Registration Act. House Bill 2783 would require the Department of Corrections to conduct risk assessments of sex offenders who move into the state of Oklahoma.
Sen. Kenneth Corn, Senate author of the measure, said the legislation was prompted by instances in which sex offenders had moved into the state, yet were not held to the requirements of Oklahoma’s Sex Offender Registration Act.
“What we’ve discovered in my part of the state, near the Arkansas border, is that there’s a loophole in the Sex Offender Registration Act,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “We’ve got sex offenders moving into Oklahoma and regardless of the time they were given in their own state, it’s not applying in Oklahoma. This legislation closes that loophole and requires a reassessment according to the statutes of Oklahoma and not another state.”
The bill would require a risk assessment committee under the Department of Corrections to review the registration information of sex offenders coming into the state. The committee will then determine and assign a numeric risk level for sex offenders based upon the severity of their crime and other factors.
“We have a responsibility to ensure Oklahoma is a safe place to live, work and raise a family,” Corn said. “By more accurately assessing an offender’s potential risk to the community, we can increase our ability to prevent future crimes. This law will ensure that Oklahoma does not become a safe haven for sex offenders.”