Sentencing Commission weighs need for change versus public perception
by Lisa BackusAugust 27, 2021, 5:00 am
The proposal to move some people off the state’s sex offender registry is going to be a “heavy lift,” according to members of the state Sentencing Commission.
But members said it should lead to greater public safety by allowing police to focus on high-risk registrants instead of continually monitoring people who no longer pose a threat.
“With the volume of people on the registry, it dilutes their (law enforcement’s) ability to zero in on potential risks,” attorney Jennifer Zito, a member of the commission, said. “It also does a disservice to the public because they assume everyone on the registry is dangerous and that creates hysteria.”
Zito and other subcommittee members held their first discussion of two proposals to provide a path for removal from the registry during a meeting Thursday afternoon. The proposals will be shaped over the coming months before being voted on by the full Sentencing Commission and if passed, presented as possible legislation.
Connecticut is one of a few states that doesn’t provide a way for individuals to get off the sex offender registry, even for those who were convicted prior to its creation. The legislature required the Sentencing Commission in 2015 to research and develop proposals for reforming state policies regarding sex offenders. The commission issued a report in 2017 that detailed several proposals.