Frequently Asked Questions about PA’s sex offense registry

Please be Advised:

  • The following guidelines apply to PA law and do not take into account any parole or probation conditions.
    • There is great variation in supervision conditions, and so the following will not apply to many of those who are on parole and probation.
    • It is critical that you understand what your conditions are in order to keep yourself and your loved ones free of distress and legal consequences.
  • The legal information was pulled from the PA Consolidated Statutes..
    • To view and verify for yourself, visit Title 42 – Chapter 97 and consult Subchapter H and Subchapter I (about halfway down the page).
  • If there are questions that we missed or that you would like to have answered, please contact josiah@parsol.org and we will update this list.

Frequently Asked Questions about PA’s sex offense registry

  • Housing is the most difficult resource for people getting out to secure. People with sex offenses find themselves particularly challenged, as they are often forced to choose between substandard housing, remaining in halfway houses, or even homelessness.
  • We are in the process of creating a list of potential housing options on a city-based level. Please check back for this addition to our Resources page
  • Have a look at  Renting with a Criminal Conviction or Arrest Record for some tips on how to best increase your odds of being approved as a tenant.
  • Please stay tuned for an article that suggests writing a letter describing your situation as a way to boost your chances of success
  • Many large companies will not hire someone with a sex offense as a matter of policy.
  • People with felony convictions may have more luck with smaller, non-corporate businesses who do not have such a policy.
    • These businesses will be more willing to individually consider your situation and history before making a decision to not hire you because of your conviction or because of your status on the registry.
  • Best Jobs For Felons – 200+ Companies That Hire Felons Updated for 2021 will be a great place to start your job searching.
  • Consider your local Careerlink for guidance.
  • Registration can be done at any time at a PA State Police (PSP) Barracks
  • There are other sites where one can register, such as a county prison.
    • The PSP will provide you with a list of approved sites via mail as your registration date approaches.
  • If you are on PA state parole or probation, your supervising officer can most times update your registration information at their office.
  • For people whose offenses occurred before 12/20/2012, information can be updated via mail ONLY between regularly scheduled in-person verifications.
  • Experiences vary, but the vast majority of people on the registry in PA do not need to fear physical harm from vigilante groups or members in their community.
  • Very few instances of registry violence are reported.
    • For what it’s worth, the use of the registry to harass, intimidate, or threaten someone on the registry is a crime and is stressed to the viewer before they see your information.
  • The peak of sex offense panic and discrimination was a few years ago (though, it could reignite).
  • Do your best to choose a good area with neighbors that have better things to do than worry about someone’s criminal history.
 
  • Consider joining our Fearless meetings on the second Sat of every month from 4-5:30PM. This meeting is open to anyone who has been affected by PA’s registry.
    • Visit our website for instructions on how to sign up.
    • Those without net access can call the general PARSOL line at 717 820 2237 to receive the call-in number.
  • Consider what groups you may already belong to as a way to start your search. Are you a veteran? LBGT? A senior? There are many groups throughout PA doing good work who can point you in the right direction.
  • A list of resources is available on our website.
  • What information you need to register and how often will depend on when your crime was committed and what Tier was assigned to you.
    • For those whose offense occurred before 12/20/2012, significantly less information is required at the initial visit and at follow-up visits.
    • The PSP provides good details on this page.
    • For those without net access, contact us and we can send you brochures with details on what you need to register
  • Yes. U.S. citizens who have lived in PA for at least 30 days prior to the election can vote.
  • Having a felony or being on the registry does not disqualify you from voting in PA.
  • Only people who have been labeled a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) or a Sexually Violent Delinquent Child by their sentencing judge will be subject to community notification.
    • The State Police provide information to the local police department about the former offender’s details and residence
      • The local police Dept is then responsible for community notification.
    • Neighbors as well as the directors of schools/daycares will be given a flyer with the following information
      • Photo of the person labeled an SVP
      • Name
      • Offense
      • Address
      • Statement that an SVP determination has been made for this person
  • All other people on the registry will not have community notification.
    • Information listed on the registry will be determined by when the offense was committed.
      • For those whose crimes occurred after 12/20/2012:
        • Name/Aliases
        • Year of Birth
        • Home Address
        • School and address (if enrolled)
        • Employer and address
        • Photo
        • Physical Description
        • Vehicle license plate and description
        • Offense and whether victim was a minor
        • Registration Date
          • Tier Level
        • See our printable PDF on Subchapter H
  • For those whose crimes occurred before 12/20/2012:
  • In the case of Commonwealth v Muniz (2016), the PA Supreme Court ruled that the state’s registry had to be modified only for the people who committed sex offenses before major changes to the registry went into effect on 12/21/2012.
  • Subchapter I is the part of PA’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA or “Megan’s Law”) that applies to people whose crimes occurred on or before 12/20/2012.
    • In general, the requirements for people subject to H are less invasive.
  • Subchapter H is the part of SORNA that applies to people whose crimes occurred after 12/20/2012.
    • More requirements are imposed on the people who fall under Subchapter H.
  • There are no state laws that forbid people on the registry from visiting a library or a park.
  • There are no state laws that forbid people on the registry from living near a school or a daycare.
    • These laws, known as Residency Restrictions, were struck down in PA in a Federal Court Case in 2009.
  • Facebook and Nextdoor have policies that prevent people who are on the Registry from using their services.
    • As private services, they have the right to do this.
    • You can still sign up, but you may be removed and banned.
  • Twitter, Reddit, and NARSOL Connections are all social media sites that all people can freely use.
  • Like Facebook, dating apps may choose to deny use of their platform to people on the registry.
  • We are not familiar with any platforms that deny people on the registry.
  • There is no law that forbids people who are on the registry from having contact with people under 18 years of age.
    • Parole and probation conditions, however, usually do forbid contact with minors under 18.
  • Parents can be charged with a crime for leaving their kids unsupervised around certain people with sex offenses.
    • From the PSP website:
Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law defines the term “child abuse” as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly…leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child’s parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known: (A) Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier III sexual offender under 42 Pa. C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders), where the victim of the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed. (B) Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa. C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors. (C) Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child as defined in 42 Pa. C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions). (D) Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.58 (relating to assessments) or has to register for life under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.55(b) (relating to registration).
  • People under Subchapter H (offense after 2012) who plan to travel out of state for 7 or more days must report details of their travel plans within 72 hours of travel.
  • All people on the registry must notify the PSP of travel plans 21 days in advance of international travel.
  • Check with other State registry laws for that state’s registry requirements..
  • Some nations prohibit people who have sex offenses from entering the country.
  • See this excellent resource by the Registrant Action Travel Group for a list of nations who have turned away people with sex offenses.
    • You can also contact us for a list.
  • Review International Megan's Law
  • Yes. Please check our website for a city-by-city directory of some organizations that provide resources to re-entrants.