The full Senate has given its approval to a measure designed to close a loophole in Oklahoma’s sex offender registration law. Sen. Cliff Branan is the author of the legislation. Senate Bill 2231 won unanimous approval by the Senate on Thursday.
“Requiring sex offenders to register is supposed to be a way to keep track of where these predators are and ensure the public can access that information,” said Branan, R-Oklahoma City. “But the way the current law is written, offenders can legally give a post office box number instead of a street address. This defeats the whole purpose. SB 2231 would require them to use the actual address of where they’re currently living.”
According to the Department of Corrections, there are currently 6,400 people on Oklahoma’s sex offender registry. These include individuals who have been convicted of crimes ranging from indecent exposure to rape and child molestation. Another 3, 500 convicted sex offenders are currently behind bars in the state.
“We have penalties on the books for sex offenders who fail to register or update their information when they move. The problem is using just a post office box is perfectly legal,” Branan said. “My legislation fixes that problem.”
If approved by both chambers and signed by the governor, the new law would take effect on November 1, 2010.