About 2,600 convicted sex offenders in South Carolina and more than 1,600 in Georgia are registered with police agencies, and with the help of public sex offender registries, residents can know where they live.
Almost every city in South Carolina has a registered sex offender, and at least half of those offenders were convicted of crimes involving minors, according to South Carolina's Sex Offender Registry.
South Carolina's State Law Enforcement Division is expected to post its list soon on its web site.
Georgia implemented its sex offender registry in 1996, requiring sex offenders convicted after July 1, 1996, to notify the sheriff's department in the county where they are living.
There are 1,675 registered sex offenders in Georgia, and they are required to register within 10 days of their release from prison. They must provide law enforcement with their name, address, employment and crime committed.
In South Carolina, sex offenders who have been convicted or released from prison since 1994 have been required to register with county sheriffs.
Now with a new South Carolina law that took effect in June, the information is public.
SLED recently released the statewide data and The (Charleston) Post and Courier has posted it on its Internet site, Charleston.net. The list is not yet available on the Internet from SLED, although the agency is seeking a federal grant to post it there.
SLED can provide the information by name, address, ZIP code, city, county or state on printed lists for 25 cents a page. Or the agency can provide it on computer disks for $5.
However, the most accurate, up-to-date information is available at local sheriff's offices. Requests for information must be in writing and include the names and addresses of the offenders.
Offenders in South Carolina must report address changes within 10 days and continue to register every year for the rest of their lives.
If they don't register or if they give false information, they can be sent to jail for mandatory sentences of 90 days for a first offense, a year for a second offense and five years for a third offense.
The law is meant to protect people from sex offenders, but it also provides punishment for people who use registry information to harass or harm offenders.
If a person is convicted of a crime against a sex offender, the penalty can be increased by $1,000 and six months in jail for a misdemeanor or by five years in jail for a felony.
Georgia officials are not required to publish the list. But a new law that took effect in July enables officials to post the list in government buildings and make the list available to school officials. The list also is available on the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's web site.
Sex offenders in Georgia are required to periodically re-register with the local sheriff's department. Probation and parole officers are required by the state to make field checks on the offenders.
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