Two years ago, the Connecticut legislature was introduced to a bunch of “sex offender” bills for consideration. Rather than vote on the new bills before them, they decided to appoint a committee to examine the current laws to see whether they were effective.
This committee, which was comprised of approximately 40 members who are stakeholders on all sides of the registry, after two years of evaluation, came up with a unanimous conclusion… Connecticut’s registry wasn’t working and should be dramatically overhauled.
As one article put it, “After two years of study, including numerous public hearings and testimony by nationally known experts on treatment of sex offenders, as well as reports on how other states’ registries operate, with almost unanimous agreement the subcommittee produced a report recommending major changes to our sex offender registry laws. These changes would have resulted in a smaller, more focused and enforceable registry. Also, they would lessen the barriers to the offenders’ successful reintegration into the community. The 204-page report was adopted by the full Sentencing Commission and submitted to the Judiciary Committee of the Legislature in December 2017.”
The legislature had the opportunity this year, to adopt a bill that would put into effect the recommendations of the subcommittee. On the last day of the session, the bill died.
On one hand it’s disappointing that the legislature lacked the political courage to make necessary changes. On the other hand, it’s very encouraging to see more states considering research and empirical evidence in their law-making and recognizing that change is necessary.