FAQ's


**Content Last Updated July 23, 2012**

We have provided some of the Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for your convenience.


To download and print a version of the FAQ's, click here.


  • Who pays for the initial cost for the data lines through Verizon?
    According to the Pennsylvania State Police Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network ("CLEAN") Administrative Regulations, Section I 2(b) - "Equipment Maintenance and Support Requirements" - all costs associated with the installation or relocation of equipment and data communications lines is the responsibility of the authorized agency utilizing CLEAN.

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  • If a juvenile leaves the facility on a home or community pass. These passes may range from 4-48 hours. The juvenile is either supervised by a staff member or an approved family member.Is this considered 'Supervised Release' under the Act?

    A Juvenile Offender would leave a detention/treatment facility for a weekend visit home or some other location and come back Monday morning after approximately 48 Hours. There is nothing in Walsh requiring the reporting of a "home pass" to PSP, for the reasons below:

    If a Juvenile Offender is registered to a treaetment/detention facility and leaving for 48 hours, they will be residing or intending to reside at the "home pass" location. They are, essentially, visiting.

    If they are going home for approximately 48 hours, it does not meet the definition of (Temporary lodging) under 9799.12.

    However, as with many things associated with sex offender registration, this inquiry can be extremely fact specific and depend on many things associated with the "home pass". It is possible that in the right combination of circumstances would require the registration of a "home pass' location at some point in the future.



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  • Is there a battery backup system required such as a generator for the equipment?
    The Livescan device does not contain a backup system nor is one required under the maintenance policy. Utilization of a battery backup or generator is at the discretion of the hosting agency and their IT policies.

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  • Can the room housing the equipment be restricted to specific hours?
    Hours of operation are determined by the agency.

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  • Does the room housing the equipment need to be secure/private?
    According to the Criminal Justice Information Systems (“CJIS”) Security Policy Version 5.0, Section 5.9.1, the equipment must be kept in a physically secure location. For more information on what constitutes a physically secure area, please refer to this set of guidelines here.

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  • What is the minimum requirement for the dimensions for the size of the room housing the equipment?
    There is no prescribed minimum requirement for the dimensions of the room housing the equipment. The room must be sufficient in size to house the equipment and provide for safe operation. You may refer to the Central Booking specifications and the Criminal Justice Information Systems Security Policy for recommendations and additional information.

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  • What information is captured during the new offender initial registration process?
    There are several categories of information captured when an offender is initially registered.

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  • What is the effective date of Act 111 of 2011?
    There are three effective dates for Pennsylvania’s Walsh Act.
    • December 20, 2011 - Expanded registration to include transient and out-of-state offenders.
    • February 21, 2012 - Modified the statutory definitions for several offenses (kidnapping, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, statutory sexual assault, institutional sexual assault); and placed limitations on the number of SVPs per group home.
    • December 20, 2012 – Pennsylvania’s current Megan’s Law will expire and the remainder of the Walsh Act will be implemented.


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  • What is the justification for implementation of this law?
    The passage of Act 111 of 2011 brought Pennsylvania into compliance with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.  It also closed loopholes in Pennsylvania’s current Megan’s law.  The 2006 federal Walsh Act provided minimum standards for sex offender registration and notification (SORNA) and recommendations for states to implement within three years.  It established a national Sex Offender Registry.  The federal act also mandated when sex offenders must register and for how long, utilizing a three-tiered classification system.  The failure of a state to comply within the three year time frame resulted in a reduction of Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds.

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  • What is the difference between registration and verification?
    Registration is the initial process where a registrant provides the required data, is fingerprinted and photographed.  Registration happens once for every sentenced offender to whom the Act applies.  Verification is the process by which the registrant appears to validate the information provided at his/her previous appearance and is photographed.  Verification occurs according to the schedule determined by the offender’s Tier classification.

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  • Who is responsible for the registration of sex offenders?
    Many agencies are cited with responsibilities in the Act, including, but not limited to, PA Board of Probation and Parole, County Adult Probation/Parole, Juvenile Probation, PA Department of Corrections, and PA State Police.

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  • If an offender receives a state sentence, who is responsible for the registration?
    According to the new requirements under this Act, if an offender is sentenced to confinement in a state correctional facility after December 21, 2012, the county office of probation and parole serving that county is responsible for the initial registration (see 42 § 9799.19 (b.1)

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  • What classifies an offender as Transient?
    Transient is defined in the Act as "an individual required to register under this subchapter who does not have a residence but nevertheless resides in the commonwealth in a temporary habitat or other temporary place of abode or dwelling, including, but not limited to, a homeless shelter or park".

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  • Under what authority do county probation departments have to register state sentenced offenders?
    Same answer as above.  According to the new requirements under this Act, if an offender is sentenced to confinement in a state correctional facility after December 21, 2012, the county office of probation and parole serving that county is responsible for the initial registration (see 42 § 9799.19 (b.1)).

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  • If an offender changes his/her residence what is required?
    A commencement of residence, change in residence, termination of residence or failure to maintain a residence (transient) must be reported in person at an approved verification site within three business days.

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  • If an offender is taking courses online, are they considered a student?
    The definition of student in the Act states: "The term does not include an individual enrolled in an educational institution exclusively through the internet or via correspondence courses."

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  • My judge is questioning why he needs to send an offender for evaluation to see if he is a sexually violent predator after pleading to F-3 Indecent Assault when as he reads it he will be a life time registrant anyway.
    Act 111 cites the requirements for an Order for Assessment in Section 9799.24 for all sexual offenders. Throughout the Act there are cited differences for notification procedures and treatment requirements for an offender found to be a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). Please refer to Act 111 for the specific distinctions.

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  • Who is preparing the answers to these questions?...makes it look like County has no responsibility for registration....Please advise if this is true?
    Thank you for bringing to our attention your concern about a response listed on the Frequently Asked Question section of the newly formed Sex Offender Management web community. This web community was made possible through a collaboration by the Act 111 Communications Work Group consisting of multi-disciplinary membership. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together to build this new community and strive to provide you with information about this complex legislation. It should be noted that the intention behind the creation of this web resource is not to provide all the answers you may be seeking about this legislation, but instead to provide a forum for exchange of information by and between all agencies impacted by this legislation.

    While the current version of Act 111's impact on county probation is referenced in other sections of the website, it was not specifically listed in this FAQ response through unintentional oversight and we apologize for any negative impact this may have created for your agency. As noted, many agencies have responsibilities under this Act and the list was NOT intended to be all-inclusive. However, we have heard your concerns and added county probation to the list.

    As noted on the website, it is merely for informational purposes only. The Act 111 Communications Work Group and PCCD cannot provide legal advice on what your individual agency's responsibilities are under the Act. Should you have a question regarding the legislation, or your agency's specific responsibilities under the Act, please seek the advice of counsel for your agency. You may also chose to review the spreadsheet referenced in this page of the website for additional information on registration responsibilities: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/act_111/20820/initial_registration/1139512

    Successful implementation of this legislation will require partnership and collaboration. We strongly urge you to begin collaborating on a local level through your county CJAB or specially designated work group, if you haven't already, to determine how your county will approach implementation. Ultimately, some questions relating to implementation will have to be addressed at the county level utilizing your collaborative partnerships, processes and resources.

    Thank you again for noting your concerns. Please continue to provide us with feedback about your questions or concerns so we can improve this website to meet your needs.



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  • What are the responsibilities for County Adult Probation Departments?
    The adult county probation office is responsible for the initial registration of sexual offenders at the time of sentencing (for sentences imposed on or after December 20, 2012).

    There are other responsibilities for adult probation offices as outlined in the Act.



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  • Due to the substantial increase in duties and increase need for personnel as mandated by this Act, what funds are going to be provided to the counties in order to perform these duties?
    There is no specific funding mechanism outlined in Act 111. The increase in personnel time varies significantly between locations and is dependent upon the number of individuals in the county requiring initial registration and recurring verifications as outlined in the Act. At this time, the Commonwealth does not anticipate providing funds for personnel costs. However, the Commonwealth has allocated funding received through the federal Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program to aid in the procurement of the equipment necessary to perform the registration and verification of offenders. Where possible, it is the intent to leverage existing equipment already deployed throughout the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency in coordination with the Pennsylvania State Police is evaluating the existing equipment locations to determine the sites with the greatest need for equipment. Equipment for the sites identified will be provided within the confines of the federal funds available.

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  • Who is responding to questions submitted via the “feedback” button from the website?
    A Walsh Act Communications workgroup was formed to help disseminate information related to the implementation of the Act. The Communications Workgroup members represent several agencies/groups including PSP, PBPP, DOC, County probation/parole, PCCD and the Sentencing Commission. Any feedback that is submitted via the website is discussed among the Communications Workgroup and sent an appropriate response.

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  • Will there be any training conducted regarding implementation of this Act?
    At this time no trainings/seminars are scheduled. However, some associations and organizations have coordinated their own presentations to address the particular needs of the associations’ members.

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  • Are the registration requirements retroactive?
    Yes, there are retroactive requirements identified in Act 111. However; House Bill 75 contains changes to the requirements surrounding retroactivity. As of July 5, 2012 this bill was approved by the house and senate and presented to the governor for signature.

    Refer to this legislation for any changes.
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2011&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=75

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  • What are the retroactive requirements under this law?
    Act 111 contains several retroactive requirements. For example, if an offender had a prior conviction for a sexual offense but is not currently subject to registration, if the offender would re-enter the criminal justice system due to a new conviction for a felony, that individual would be subject to registration. There are other retroactive requirements outlined in the current Act. However; House Bill 75 alters these requirements and removes the look back in certain instances. As of July 5, 2012 this bill was approved by the house and senate and presented to the governor for signature.

    Refer to this legislation for any changes.
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2011&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=75

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  • Have there been any amendments to Act 111 since the Governor signed the legislation on December 20, 2011?
    No. As of the last update of this FAQ, there have been no amendments to Act 111. However; House Bill 75 was introduced and signed by the House and Senate.

    This bill is before the governor for signature.
    http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/billInfo/billInfo.cfm?sYear=2011&sInd=0&body=H&type=B&bn=75

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  • What vendors are available to provide our county with equipment to carry out the requirements contained in Adam Walsh Act?
    The equipment needed to carry out the registration and verification requirements contained within ACT 111 are defined within the Equipment Standards on the website.

    The PC and peripherals can be procured through the appropriate county procurement process but must adhere to the equipment standards identified in order to operate with the PA SORT application. The Livescan device for capturing finger and palm prints must be on the certified equipment list found on the equipment standards page http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1259536/guidelines_and_technology_standards_pdf



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  • Is there anyone discussing an amendment to allow probation offices to access PSP registration equipment (palm print, registration software)?

    At this time there are no amendments in the House or Senate to Act 111 directing the use of PSP registration equipment by county or state parole. Currently we anticipate that every county will be able to establish at least one non-PSP registration site addition to the PSP location. Registration software will be provided. Any questions regarding the ability to utilize the equipment at PSP locations should be directed to the Megan’s Law Commander within PSP. Contact and other information may be found on the FAQ page of the Megan's Law Website here.



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  • When will we see a copy of the form that needs to be filled out for registration?
    The information collected during the registration and verification is captured electronically through the PA SORT application maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police. There is no paper form to be completed. For more information on registration requirements, you may consult Section 9799.16 of Act 111 located on the PCCD Website at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pa_act_111_of_2011/20820

    Direct link:
    http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1235595/megan's_law_(walsh)_-_42_pa_c_s__9799_11_through_42_pa_c_s__9799_41_pdf



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***"This website is for informational purposes only. Should you have a question regarding a specific statute, please seek the advice of counsel for your agency."***