Whether known to us or not, the intention of the registry was to let us know if a person presents a risk to our families and communities and to enable law enforcement agencies to track, supervise and monitor these registrants. Unfortunately, Connecticut’s registry is not performing these functions.
Unlike New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and 13 other states, Connecticut’s sex offender registry is an “offense-based” rather than a “risk-based” registry. This means that someone convicted of a crime with a sexual component can arrange a plea deal to avoid being placed on the registry or plea bargain to an offense that carries less registration time. Certain offenses, such as sex trafficking, do not require placement on the registry. The public is not safer if the individuals most at risk of reoffending are not even on the registry.
There are multiple instances in recent years to illustrate how the lack of a risk-based registry allows dangerous offenders to go unsupervised and to reoffend, committing rape, murder, and sexual assault. At the other end of the spectrum are individuals who are least likely to reoffend. While their crimes and the harm they perpetrated should never be minimized, sex offender treatment experts argue that being listed on the registry can negatively impact a person’s chances for long-term success. Evidence and logic suggest that in many ways registries contradict best practices in criminal justice re-entry reforms and actually hurt public safety.