梅根法是1996年通过的一项联邦法律，授权当地执法机构向公众通报生活，工作或访问其社区的已定罪性犯罪者。梅根定律的灵感来自七岁的新泽西女孩梅根康卡（Megan Kanka）的案例，她被一位已知的儿童骚扰者强奸并杀害，他们从家里搬到街对面。 Kanka家族争取让当地社区警告该地区的性犯罪者。新泽西州的立法机构于1994年通过了梅根法。1996年，美国国会通过了梅根法，作为雅各布湿地犯罪儿童法案的修正案。当性犯罪者被释放到他们的社区时，它要求每个州都有一个性犯罪者登记处和公众通知系统。它还要求重复性犯罪者在监狱中获得终身监禁。不同的州有不同的程序来进行必要的披露。通常，通知中包含的信息是罪犯的姓名，图片，地址，监禁日期和定罪罪。这些信息通常显示在免费的公共网站上，但可以通过报纸分发，分发在小册子中，或通过各种其他方式分发。联邦法律并不是第一本涉及登记被定罪性犯罪者问题的书籍。早在1947年，加利福尼亚就制定了要求性犯罪者注册的法律。自1996年5月通过联邦法以来，所有州都通过了某种形式的梅根定律。在梅根法通过之前，1994年的雅各布湿地法案要求每个州必须维持和发展性犯罪者登记和其他与儿童犯罪有关的犯罪。但是，注册信息仅提供给执法部门，除非有关个人的信息成为公共安全问题，否则不向公众开放。法律作为保护公众的工具的实际效力受到新泽西州默瑟县汉密尔顿镇的理查德和Maureen Kanka的挑战，他们的7岁女儿Megan Kanka遭到绑架，强奸和谋杀。他被判处死刑，但在2007年12月17日，新泽西州立法机构废除了死刑，Timmendequas的判决被改判为终身监禁而没有假释的可能性。重复性犯罪者，Jessee Timmendequas因为从Megan搬到街对面的家中而被判两次性侵犯儿童罪。 1994年7月27日，他诱使梅根进入他的房子，在那里他强奸并谋杀了她，然后将她的遗体留在附近的公园里。第二天，他承认犯罪并将警察带到梅根的遗体。 Kankas说，如果他们知道他们的邻居Jessee Timmendequas是一名被定罪的性犯罪者，Megan今天将活着。 Kankas努力改变法律，希望强制规定当性犯罪者生活在社区或移居社区时，各州通知社区居民。保罗克莱默是共和党政治家，曾在新泽西州大会任职四届，于1994年在新泽西州大会上赞助了七项法案，称为梅根法。该法案于梅根被绑架后89天在新泽西州颁布，被强奸和谋杀。梅根法律的反对者认为它引发了警察暴力和参考案件，如威廉·艾略特在家中被警察斯蒂芬马歇尔枪杀。 Marshall在Maine Sex Offender Registry网站上找到了Elliot的个人信息。威廉·艾略特因被判与女友发生性关系而被要求在20岁时登记为性犯罪者。改革派组织批评法律是因为对登记的性犯罪者的家庭成员产生了负面的附带影响。它也认为这是不公平的，因为这意味着性犯罪者受到无限期的惩罚。
Megan’s Law is a federal law passed in 1996 that authorizes local law enforcement agencies to notify the public about convicted sex offenders living, working or visiting their communities. Megan’s Law was inspired by the case of seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who moved across the street from the family. The Kanka family fought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. The New Jersey legislature passed Megan’s Law in 1994. In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed Megan’s Law as an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children’s Act. It required every state have a sex offender registry and a notification system for the public when a sex offender is released into their community. It also required that repeat sex offenders receive a sentence of life in prison. Different states have different procedures for making the required disclosures. Generally, the information that is included within the notification is the offender’s name, picture, address, incarceration date, and offense of conviction. The information is most often displayed on free public websites, but can be distributed through newspapers, distributed in pamphlets, or through various other means. The federal law was not the first on the books that addressed the issue of registering convicted sex offenders. As early as 1947, California had laws that required sex offenders to be registered. Since the passage of the federal law in May of 1996, all states have passed some form of Megan’s Law. Before Megan’s Law being passed, the Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994 required that each state must maintain and develop a registry of sexual offenders and other offenses related to crimes against children. However, the registry information was only made available to law enforcement and was not open to public viewing unless information about an individual became a matter of public safety. The actual effectiveness of the law as a tool to protect the public was challenged by Richard and Maureen Kanka of Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey after their 7-year-old daughter, Megan Kanka, was abducted, raped and murdered. He was sentenced to death, but on December 17, 2007, the death penalty was abolished by the New Jersey Legislature and Timmendequas’ sentence was commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Repeat sex offender, Jessee Timmendequas had been convicted twice for sex crimes against children when he moved into a home across the street from Megan. On July 27, 1994, he lured Megan into his house where he raped and murdered her, then left her body in a nearby park. The following day he confessed to the crime and led police to Megan’s body. The Kankas said that had they known that their neighbor, Jessee Timmendequas was a convicted sex offender, Megan would be alive today. The Kankas fought to change the law, wanting to make it mandatory that states notify the residents of a community when sex offenders are living in the community or move to the community. Paul Kramer, a Republican Party politician who served four terms in the New Jersey General Assembly, sponsored the package of seven bills known as Megan’s Law in New Jersey General Assembly in 1994. The bill was enacted in New Jersey 89 days after Megan was kidnapped, raped and murdered. Opponents of Megan’s Law feel that it invites vigilante violence and reference cases like William Elliot who was shot and killed in his home by vigilante Stephen Marshall. Marshall located Elliot’s personal information on the Maine Sex Offender Registry website. William Elliot was required to register as a sex offender at the age of 20 after being convicted of having sex with his girlfriend who was just days away from turning 16 years old. Reformist organizations have criticized the law because of the negative collateral effects on the family members of registered sex offender. It also finds it unfair because it means that sex offenders are subjected to indefinite punishments.