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Applying Lessons From Sex Offender Registries Rollouts to New Registries for Protection Orders in Texas  

Author:  Danielle J.S. Bailey, Ph.D..; Jennifer L. Klein, Ph.D..

Source: Volume 21, Number 01, December/January 2020 , pp.2-7(6)

Sex Offender Law Report

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A new law in Texas, known as Monica’s Law, establishes a database for persons subject to protective orders for family violence. Like the sex offender registry, Monica’s Law will provide public access to this database through an online portal. Although the intentions of the law are admirable, the law was passed without a review of possible unanticipated consequences that may detract from its sanguine objectives. Given that Texas and other states have experience with such registries, which provide ample lessons for future publicly accessible databases, it is confounding that Monica’s Law was passed without a comparison to registries already in existence in the states. This article explains how Monica’s Law mirrors early state-level iterations of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Acts (SORNA) and discusses the potential implications of this law based on outcomes observed in sex offender policy research.

Keywords: Texas Senate Bill 325 (SB 325); Monica’s Law; Online Searchable Registries; Jacob Wetterling Act

Affiliations:  1: University of Texas at Tyler; 2: University of Texas at Tyler.

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