The ACLU of Michigan is committed to fighting for the rights of people required to register under Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) and their families, and to supporting survivors of sexual offenses, in order to make Michigan communities safer for all of us. The requirements under SORA have greatly changed over the years. The most recent information about SORA and our lawsuits can be found here.
Michigan’s registry is one of the largest in the country, and current estimates indicate that it includes more than 44,000 people. The registry costs taxpayers between $1.2 and $1.5 million each year to maintain with no demonstrable public safety benefit. Registration is based solely on past convictions (no matter how old), not present risk, which contradicts modern scientific research showing that scientific assessments are better at predicting risk than past convictions. And, the registry includes children as young as 14 and people who have never committed a sex offense.
In response to our more-than-a-decade long litigation against the registry, the legislature passed a new SORA which went into effect March 24, 2021. The ACLU believes that the new law has done little to fix Michigan’s bloated and ineffective registry and, in some ways, has made the problem worse. The courts have not yet decided whether this law is constitutional, and the ACLU is actively working out how to best challenge it.
The research shows that registries undermine public safety and needlessly waste taxpayer money. For more information, please visit the Basic Facts about SORA page.
The ACLU of Michigan has been fighting to reform SORA for more than a decade. To find more information on our lawsuits, please visit the Legal Challenges to SORA: Case History page.
Michigan has repeatedly revised SORA over the past three decades. The most recent revision, effective March 24, 2021, continues a failed and bloated registry, and does not fix SORA’s constitutional problems. For more information about the new law, about how SORA has changed over time, and about model legislation that would better promote public safety, please visit the Legislative History page.
The ACLU will post important case documents and major updates on this website. You can also ask to be added to our email list to receive updates by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Because there are almost 44,000 people on Michigan’s registry, the lawyers in this case cannot answer questions for individual registrants. If you have questions about your individual case, you should talk to an attorney.