(WTNH) — Halloween is a time for ghosts and goblins. Are there any in your neighborhood? Sex offenders may be lurking nearby. Every year, parents check out the state’s sex offender registry before sending their children out to trick-or-treat.
Thousands of sex offenders are listed on the registry. It lists their home addresses and tells you which offenders are non-compliant. Are you looking closely enough at it to have the information you need to know? Questions are even being raised on how effective the list really is.
In Connecticut, victim advocates work closely with the Board of Pardon and Parole to keep track of the offenders they oversee. Brian Battista, Office of Adult Probation, Judicial Department, says community and victim safety is a priority and that includes keeping the list as accurate as possible.
A survey of some of the state’s largest cities is quite revealing. It shows the addresses for more than 20 percent of the offenders registered in those cities are a mystery.
Offenders are required to verify their address every 90 days. But if they do not, it does not mean they don’t live there. According to the State Police offenders have 10 days after that to verify their address, otherwise they are non-compliant and arrest warrants can then be issued.
Even those who are compliant may not actually live at their listed address. You can find that out by clicking on their profile and it will state what their charges are and if they are actually incarcerated.
According to Former Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara, “There is a lot of debate nationally on the effectiveness of these lists. Many say more study has to be done to see if these subjects are more likely to offend again. Others have indicated the subjects should be put on the list based upon a risk assessment rather than just on the crime they were convicted of.”
“The Registry continuously strives to ensure that communication between local, state and federal agencies, responsible for the management of registered sex offenders, is as efficient as possible.”TFC Christine Jeltema, Connecticut State Police
The State’s Sentencing Commission has been given the task of looking at the registry and making recommendations on improving it to the state legislature. According to the commission, the key aspect is a move from an offense-based registry to a risk-based registry.
The categories of sex offenders who must register based on the crime for which they were convicted would remain the same. However, the length of time on the registry, the compliance requirements and whether it is a public or a law enforcement-only registry would be determined by evaluating the registrant’s risk of re-offending.