Where can I find the law on the Tennessee Sex Offender Act?

The Tennessee Sex Offender Act (Officially called the “Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification and Tracking Act of 2004”} can be found beginning at Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-201. The proposed reasons and justification for the act are below. I have placed some of the most interesting phrases in bold type.

For those seeking a different perspective, advocacy groups such as Reform Sex Offender Laws suggest that registries do not meet the legislative goals for which they were intended.

Download this Sex Offender Law Quick Reference

T.C.A. 40-39-201. Short title — Legislative findings.

  • (a)  This part shall be known as and may be cited as the “Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification and Tracking Act of 2004.”
  • (b)  The general assembly finds and declares that:
    • (1)  Repeat sexual offenders, sexual offenders who use physical violence and sexual offenders who prey on children are violent sexual offenders who present an extreme threat to the public safety. Sexual offenders pose a high risk of engaging in further offenses after release from incarceration or commitment and protection of the public from these offenders is of paramount public interest;
    • (2)  It is a compelling and necessary public interest that the public have information concerning persons convicted of sexual offenses collected pursuant to this part, to allow members of the public to adequately protect themselves and their children from these persons;
    • (3)  Persons convicted of these sexual offenses have a reduced expectation of privacy because of the public’s interest in public safety;
    • (4)  In balancing the sexual offender’s and violent sexual offender’s due process and other rights against the interests of public security, the general assembly finds that releasing information about offenders under the circumstances specified in this part will further the primary governmental interest of protecting vulnerable populations from potential harm;
    • (5)  The registration of offenders, utilizing complete and accurate information, along with the public release of specified information concerning offenders, will further the governmental interests of public safety and public scrutiny of the criminal and mental health systems that deal with these offenders;
    • (6)  To protect the safety and general welfare of the people of this state, it is necessary to provide for continued registration of offenders and for the public release of specified information regarding offenders. This policy of authorizing the release of necessary and relevant information about offenders to members of the general public is a means of assuring public protection and shall not be construed as punitive;
    • (7)  The offender is subject to specified terms and conditions that are implemented at sentencing or, at the time of release from incarceration, that require that those who are financially able must pay specified administrative costs to the appropriate registering agency, which shall retain one hundred dollars ($100) of these costs for the administration of this part and shall be reserved for the purposes authorized by this part at the end of each fiscal year, with the remaining fifty dollars ($50.00) of fees to be remitted to the Tennessee bureau of investigation’s sex offender registry; provided, that a juvenile offender required to register under this part shall not be required to pay the administrative fee until the offender reaches eighteen (18) years of age; and
    • (8)  The general assembly also declares, however, that in making information about certain offenders available to the public, the general assembly does not intend that the information be used to inflict retribution or additional punishment on those offenders.