If one were motivated to search Texas for registered sex offenders, the most appropriate tool for the job would be the National Sex Offender Registry: a website- and app-accessible database of people who were ordered to maintain official records of their residences due to a sex crime conviction. However, that database does not contain everyone who was ever ordered to register.
The national database might not even include everyone who is still under their initial registration duration order. The reason for this is twofold. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure gives those convicted of a sex crime a chance to have the court perform a risk assessment that attempts to predict an individual’s:
- Chance of recidivism
- Continuing threat to the community
Subsequent to a favorable assessment, the court might decide to remove the offender’s obligation to participate in the Texas registry.
This is significant because of the way the national registry works. According to the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, the registry is populated with information provided by each individual jurisdiction’s database. In terms of this discussion, a removal of data from the Texas sex offender list would remove the same information from the federal system.
A conviction of a sex offense is still not something one should take lightly. However, the sex offender registry is not necessarily a life sentence. Those who are unlikely to commit other sex crimes and who are no longer a threat to their community may be able to reflect these facts with an early removal from the database.