The difficulties law enforcement face with sex offender registration

LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – A Lowndes County man fails to register as a sex offender, again.

He now faces possibly 10 years behind bars.

A criminal investigator says it’s not something deputies run into a lot, but it does happen from time to time.

Lowndes County Criminal Investigator Lt. Tony Cooper says there are a little over 100 convicted registered sex offenders in the county.

Joe Taylor, 34, is one of them and on Wednesday, he was arrested and booked into jail.

“He had failed to re-register and two, when we went to, we had two different addresses possible for him. One of them, we found didn’t even exist in Lowndes County, and the second one, he had moved and failed to notify the Department of Public Safety that he was moving.”

Taylor is already under indictment for previously failing to register and now, he’s failed to do it again.

“The state of Mississippi sets a maximum sentence of five years in the state penitentiary for failure to report or failure to register.”

Cooper says for the most part, it’s not that difficult to keep sex offenders registered.

“They know, the date is stamped on their cards when they go to register, and it tells them that every 90 days you must re-register and it actually has their re-registration date on their card, so for the most part, most of them know when their 90 days are expired and they’re at the highway patrol station doing their re-registration.”

Anytime a sex offender moves or gets a new address, they have to update their information with the state, and offenders only have a certain amount of time to do so.

“We’ve got a handful of items that we, you know, addresses, phone numbers, things like that, that we try our best to keep up with and the highway patrol, when they come in to re-registration, they asked them all of the information so that they can change it in the system, and then they email me a copy of all of the changes.”

This list is on the Mississippi Department of Public Safety website and it’s how Cooper keeps up with the registered sex offenders in the area.

Once your name lands on it, it stays on there, because the Magnolia State has a lifetime registration.

“The addresses and everything is compliant and it tells me if somebody is non-compliant, which would be somebody that’s outside their 90 days, they would show up on the site, and then Jackson would also send me a letter telling me, you know, we have a violator and then, it’s my responsibility to go find them.”

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