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Sex offender review board protects Georgians

Our state is known for many extraordinary things. Nationally, our state is recognized as a place where we protect our people.

Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Nathan Deal, Sen. Mike Dugan, and many others, Georgia is also known as a leader in criminal justice reform.

The Sexual Offender Registration Review Board (SORRB) is a prime example of how we protect our children from dangerous predators. SORRB also provides information to the courts when past offenders seek to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry.

In 2017, I was honored to be appointed by Gov. Deal to SORRB. It has been a blessing. Board members include members of the public, a sheriff, victims’ advocates, mental health experts, a prosecutor, a member of the General Assembly, parole and probation officers, and a criminal defense attorney.

Executive Director Tracy Alvord is one of the most efficient, effective, and task oriented leaders I have ever met. She keeps everyone focused and motivated.

Most sex offenders will be released into society at some point after they are sentenced. To ignore them and hope that they do not re-offend by relying on the Sex Offender Registry would be both reckless and unjust.

Our purpose and mission is protecting Georgia’s children and communities at large by identifying convicted sex offenders that present the greatest risk of sexually re-offending. It is the Board’s responsibility to determine the likelihood that a sex offender will engage in another crime against a victim who is a minor, or a dangerous sexual offense.

SORRB is required to level people convicted on or after July 1, 2006 of a dangerous sexual offense and people previously convicted of a criminal offense against a minor and may be released from prison or placed on parole, supervised release, or probation on or after July 1, 2006.

We do not take this duty lightly.

Clinical Assessments by highly qualified and specialized psychologists are used by SORRB to determine the risk level of the offender. Offenders are classified as a Level I, Level 2, or Sexually Dangerous Predator.

Level I means the sexual offender is a low sex offense risk, and low recidivism risk for future sexual offenses.

Level II means the sexual offender is an intermediate sex offense risk, and intermediate recidivism risk for future sexual offenses.

A Sexually Dangerous Predator means a sexual offender who is determined by SORRB to be at risk of perpetrating any future dangerous sexual offense. Most of these offenders will never be released into society.

Each month, SORRB votes on whether or not to accept the level recommendations provided by the psychologists on each case.

The leveling system is also used by attorneys who seek to have their client removed from the Sex Offender Registry.

Here, a superior court judge must order SORRB to level an individual. When the level is certified, the attorney will present the official level to the judge and make their argument as to why the client should be removed from the Sex Offender Registry. The judge has very broad discretion in his or her ruling.

In general, only Level 1 petitioners have a reasonable chance to be removed from the Registry.

For more information about how SORRB operates, please visit www.sorrb.org.

For more information on Georgia’ Sexual Offender Registry, go to https://gbi.georgia.gov/services/georgia-sex-offender-registry