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Will Connecticut’s sex offender registry change?

People who are convicted of sex crimes in Connecticut and who have to register as sex offenders should understand how the registry program might be changing.

Every state in the nation has some sort of registry that collects and monitors information about people convicted of sexually related crimes and Connecticut is no exception to that. However, the sex offender registry in Connecticut might be undergoing some changes if recent efforts are successful.

Public access under scrutiny

Currently, any member of the public may go to the state's sex offender registry website, part of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, and find a wealth of information on people listed on the sex offender registry. Searches may be conducted by geography or by inputting the name, phone number, online identity or email address of a registrant.

An individual profile provides many details about the registrant including a photo, physical description including tattoos or other marks, aliases, birthdate and a description of the offense for which they must register as a sex offender.

According to NBC Connecticut, the state's sentencing commission has recently completed a study of the registry and is considering reducing public access to registry data. Access to some information may be limited to law enforcement personnel only.

Lifetime registration under review

The commission's study has also initiated the conversation about changing the required lifetime registration. Currently, once a person's information is on the registry, it is there indefinitely. There is a proposal on the table to allow for information to be removed from the list.

Focus shift from offense to risk

Another consideration on the table by the commission is to shift the registry focus away from individual offenses to the level of risk each registrant poses. This risk is assessed based on the potential for future offenses to be committed.

Changes also requested for statutes of limitations

In addition to a call for changes to the state's sex offender registry, some people have been asking for changes to the state's statute of limitation for bringing about sex crime charges against defendants. The CT Post reported last spring that some in the state wish to provide more time for people to initiate these charges.

Some believe that the onslaught of many high-profile sex crime or sexual misconduct cases nationwide might be fueling this effort. Some states, but not Connecticut, have eliminated these statutes of limitations altogether.

Defendants' rights matter

Part and parcel of the American justice system is that defendants have rights and these rights should be protected at all times. Anyone who is facing registry as a sex offender in Connecticut should consult with an attorney to understand exactly how this may impact their life.