Attorney General Lockyer Announces Major Enhancement to Megan's Law Public Internet Site
Californians Now Can Access Sex Offender Data in 12 Different Languages
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced a major enhancement to California’s Megan’s Law public Internet site, unveiling a new feature that allows Californians to search the sex offender registry in 12 different languages.
“This vital improvement recognizes the tremendous diversity of California’s population, and will empower more families by giving them greater access to crucial public safety information,” Lockyer said. “Accessibility to the sex offender registry is an important public safety tool, and it should be available to all Californians.”
The added feature will allow individuals to search the database in the following languages: English, Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. A “drop-down” index that allows visitors to select the language of their choice is located at the upper right portion of the Megan’s Law Internet site’s welcome page.
The Internet site is available at http://MegansLaw.ca.gov and through the Attorney General’s home page at http://www.ag.ca.gov . The site provides detailed information on more than 63,000 registered sex offenders.
Information on the Internet site that will be provided in the 12 languages includes registrants’ gender, race, physical description (including scars, marks and tattoos), and a description of the criminal convictions that require the individual to register as a sex offender. Registrants’ name, aliases, age, and the county and ZIP Code where the individual last registered, will be provided only in English.
Additional, crucial public safety information on “How to Protect Yourself and Your Family” also has been translated into the various languages on the website, as well as a “Summary of the Law.” The translated materials also include a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, which clearly explains key aspects of Megan’s Law and the sex offender registry.
Another feature now available in the 12 languages is a link allowing viewers to directly report information to the state Department of Justice (DOJ). A viewer can click on the “Report Information to DOJ” button located in each registrant’s profile and submit information concerning the sex offender – including suspected violation of registration requirements – for follow-up by appropriate law enforcement agencies.
To provide the language enhancement, staff of the DOJ’s Division of California Justice Information Services worked with court-certified translators to ensure accuracy in the translated materials.
The Megan’s Law public viewing web page was unveiled on December 14, 2004 – more than six months ahead of the deadline set by 2004 legislation (AB 488, Parra) that authorized the site’s creation. It is one of the most advanced public sex offender registry web sites in the nation, because of its state-of-the-art search features (by county, ZIP Code, school or park), mapping capabilities, ease of use, as well as the extensive public safety information it provides.
Since it became operational, California’s Megan’s Law web site has experienced more than 180 million hits from roughly 17 million users. In the near future, California’s site will be linked to the recently-unveiled national registry, which eventually will serve as a hub from which users can link directly to all states’ Internet sites.