If they make the decision to live in Jefferson County, they’re going to be kept up with. If they think they can move in, that they can lie to us and give us a false address, they’re wrong. Jefferson County residents who want to find out if there is a sex offender living near them can visit the department’s Web site. By visiting the sex offender page on the site, residents can enter their addresses and find if sex offenders live within 1 mile of their homes. The Web site allows residents to sign up for a free e-mail notification service.
Currently, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties use the same Watch Systems offender database software as Jefferson County. Hueytown Police Chief Doug McBee said his department keeps a constant watch on sex offenders. Officers and detectives know where the offenders live and make routine checks to ensure the sex offenders are living at the correct addresses, McBee said.
As many as 417 out-of-state sex offenders are living in Alabama neighborhoods for up to a year before their conveyancing sydney neighbors are notified, law enforcement officials said. Under Alabama’s Community Notification Act, sex offenders convicted of specific crimes are required to register with local law enforcement and have their neighbors learn about their offense. For offenders convicted in Alabama, this process begins when they are released from prison.
Out-of-state offenders who move into Alabama also have to adhere to the community notification law.
However, these offenders are allowed a due process hearing to determine if they have to follow the Alabama notification law. For these out-of-state offenders, the notification process is delayed as long as a year or more, authorities said, due to a bureaucratic logjam in granting judicial hearings to the offenders.
In 1999, a federal court ruled that convicted sex offenders moving into Alabama have the right to a due process hearing to determine if their out-of-state conviction is applicable under the Alabama law.
As a result, the Alabama Legislature amended the notification law to provide for the hearings.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety reported a backlog of 417 cases of out-of-state sex offenders awaiting due process hearings at the beginning of 2004, with no estimate on when the backlog will be cleared.