There are few things as heartbreaking as when a child is sexually harassed, and because of this New Jersey has a complex system in place in order to alert and protect the public from any sex offenders that live in their area. All 21 counties have a method of keeping track of New Jersey’s registered sex offenders in their jurisdiction, and in turn when sex offenders from other states move to New Jersey they go through the same classification process that all offenders in New Jersey must go through regardless of how the other state saw fit how to handle it. It is because of this that many may find the system in New Jersey to be more complicated than others, however it is done in a way that should provide the most protection to all New Jersey residents.
The Three Tier System
Depending on the severity of the crime committed by the offender there are three separate tiers that they can be put into in the state of New Jersey.
- Tier 1 – Low risk offenders who are not considered to pose a risk of re-offense and are also not included in New Jersey’s online sex offender registry.
- Tier 2 – Any offender who poses a moderate risk of re-offense and depending on the crime may or may not be put on the online registry.
- Tier 3 – Any offender who poses a high risk of re-offense and considered likely to commit new crimes of this nature and will always be classified on the online registry.
This registry will include photos of the offender as well as their address and any necessary details as part of the public notification requirements through Megan’s Law. Not all Tier 3 offenders will be included on this registry depending on the severity of their crimes and likelihood of committing another offense.
This is a tool that the state county prosecutor’s office uses to classify the offenders based on their crimes. Using 13 different categories they are able to create a score that determines how likely the offender is to re-commit a crime based on four major areas:
- Seriousness of the Offense based on degree of force, degree of contact and the age of the victim.
- The offense history based on victim selection, number of victims/offenses, duration of the criminal behavior, length of time since the last offense was committed and their history of anti-social acts.
- Characteristics of the offender such as any substance abuse and response to treatment
- Evaluating community support such as if the offender is receiving any therapy, if they have access to support services and if they attend school or has stable employment.
Based on all of these factors the state will assign points for each category and depending on the total number of points they receive that will determine what tier they will be classified under. Anyone who is found guilty of a sex offense must register under Megan’s Law and their tier classification will be assigned before they are released.
Almost all Tier 2 and 3 offenders will be entered into the online registry while only the local police will get notified when a Tier 1 offender is released from prison. In addition, for all Tier 2 offenders all schools, summer camps and any other possible organizations that the offender may encounter will all be notified according to guidelines put into place by Megan’s Law. In regards to Tier 3 offenders the police will go door to door in the community that the offender lives in to notify the general public.
Consult an Experienced New Jersey Attorney with Any Questions on These Matters
It is always important to understand your rights which is why it will benefit you to have a qualified attorney guide you through these complicated laws. Contact attorney Jill R. Cohen by calling 856-242-7177 today to schedule a free consultation.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly