2C:7-20 Findings, Declarations Relative to a Study of “Megan’s Law.”
1.The Legislature finds and declares that New Jersey enacted the groundbreaking legislation known as Megan’s Law in 1994 to warn citizens that a dangerous sex offender had moved into their neighborhood. At that time more than a decade ago, the law created the most comprehensive system of sex offender registration and community notification in the nation. Subsequently, the Legislature enacted the law establishing the sex offender Internet registry, utilizing modern technology to afford even greater access to information concerning dangerous sex offenders and make that information readily accessible to the public.
Recently, however, questions have been raised concerning the implementation of Megan’s Law, and whether the law is not consistently applied in the 21 counties. Published reports indicate that there are great variations among the counties in the number of sex offenders whose registration information is published on the Internet. In addition, many municipalities have limited where sex offenders may reside, or banned residency by them altogether. It also has been observed that sex offenders seem to be relocating at a higher rate to certain areas of the State, suggesting that the law is being implemented differently in some areas. Since the evidence indicates that Megan’s Law is being applied inconsistently across the State, the Legislature finds that a study should be undertaken to identify the causes of these inconsistencies and to recommend procedures to make the law’s application more uniform and equitable.
L.2007, c.227, s.1.