Sex offender code: Tribes to implement offender registration

FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes have adopted a sex offender registration code and will now be registering sex offenders on the reservation.
Next week Oleta Benally, the Tribes’ sex offender registry technician, will begin registering all qualifying sex offenders who work, go to school or reside within the boundaries of the reservation. Benally said visitors to the reservation who plan to stay for more than 72 hours must also register.
Fort Hall Police Chief Pat Teton said the Tribes passed a resolution in 2007 to maintain their own sex offender registry. Previously, the state handled the registration and monitoring of sex offenders. The Tribes will operate within the provisions of the federal Sex Offender Registration Act (SORNA) and a sex offender registry website will be available. Information will also be searchable on the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website.
Teton said that by operating their own registry, those who are convicted of a crime that falls within the purview of the code in tribal court will be required to register with the Tribes. In the past, only those who committed qualified crimes on the reservation who were successfully prosecuted in federal court were required to register.
Teton said the change will benefit both the Tribes and the surrounding counties and will improve public safety. Fort Hall Police officers will be more aware of who the offenders are and can locate them easier because they are more familiar with the residences on the reservation.
Sex offenders will be fingerprinted and a DNA sample will be taken and entered into a federal database. Frequency of registration will vary from every three months to annually based on the seriousness of the crime.
Several tribes including the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California maintain their own sex offender registry.