State legislators are debating whether they should make changes in the state’s sex offender registry, which was established in 1998.

Former Republican state legislator Bob Farr of West Hartford and other advocates called Monday for approving the recommendations of the state’s sentencing commission on changes to the registry, which is currently “based on the offense and not on the risk of re-offending.”

The current registry now lists convicted criminals for 10 years, 20 years or life. The registry started with 800 criminals who were placed retroactively onto the list when the registry was created two decades ago. Since then, the registry has grown to include people in virtually every town in the state with more than 6,000 names on the list.

“The public registry would only list high-risk offenders,” Farr said of the proposed changes. “The current registry lists too many names to be functional. … The city of Hartford has over 700 offenders.”

Some lawmakers say the list has become too unwieldy and should be pared down to alert the public regarding the most serious criminals. Farr said that a low-risk elderly person who committed

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