Canada tightens sex offender registry

Hey, this only friggin’ took forever:

Ottawa to tighten up national sex offender registry, DNA database
Last Updated: Monday, June 1, 2009

Sweeping changes to the national sex offender registry and the national DNA database are intended to make them more effective tools for police in tracking and preventing sex crimes, Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan said Monday.

“The government is delivering another aspect of our commitment to get tough on crime and protect the safety and security of our communities,” Van Loan told reporters at a press conference in Ottawa.

“Police and victims groups have requested these changes for some time and our government is delivering on them.”

Those advocacy and law enforcement groups had argued the registry, in place since 2004, hasn’t been responsible for solving a single sex crime.

Among the proposed changes:

All sex offenders will automatically be added to the registry upon conviction. Currently such offenders are included only after a formal request is made by the Crown and a judge orders it — which happens 58 per cent of the time.

Convicted sex offenders will also automatically be required to provide a DNA sample to be entered into the national database.

Police will have access to the sex offender registry to prevent sex crimes. “If police see an individual behaving suspiciously near a school ground, for example, they will be able to request information from the database,” said Van Loan. “They will be able to obtain additional information to assist them in their prevention work.” Currently police can use the sex registry to investigate a crime only after it has happened.

Those who are convicted and jailed for sex crimes in another country and are returned to Canada to serve the remainder of their sentence will now be registered with the registry.
Canadians convicted abroad of sex crimes and returning to Canada at the end of sentence must report their conviction to police within seven days of arriving back in the country or face criminal prosecution. “No longer will Canada be a safe haven from which travelling sex offenders can operate safely,” said Van Loan.

Sex offenders must report the name of their employer, the type of employment as well as any volunteer organizations they are associated with. They will also be required to provide notice in advance of absences from their residence of seven days or more.

Police will be allowed to notify other Canadian and foreign law enforcement jurisdictions when registered sex offenders are travelling to another area.

Federal and provincial correctional services will be allowed to notify registry officials if a registered sex offender is either released into the community or re-admitted to custody.

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