State pension restructuring deal receives early approval


State lawmakers met on Wednesday to examine ways to tighten sex offender laws.

The Connecticut Sentencing Commission was formed in 2011 to study the sentencing and criminal justice laws of the state.

It reports findings to the General Assembly, and in 2015, it began studying the sex offender registration system.

The commission is currently looking at sentencing laws for sexual offenses, best practices to manage convicted offenders and the sex offender registry, victims' needs and the consequences of management practices for ex-offenders.

"Others are granted youthful offender status or accelerated rehabilitation allowing them to escape having a criminal record and leaving victims with the sense that what they experienced is traumatic but easily erased in the eyes of the law," said Caitlin O'Brien, of the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

Commission members heard testimony on Wednesday, about the justice system's ability to reduce re-offending and give law enforcement timely information.

Some lawmakers want to broaden the definition of a sex offender.

State Rep. Liz Linehan (D-103rd) was outraged to learn that right now, patronizing a minor and human trafficking would not make someone a sex offender.

“Both are serious crimes, which show a willingness to exploit vulnerable populations and disregard for sexual consent,” Linehan said.

Others find fault in the current registration system.

Cindy Prizio, of Connecticut for One Standard of Justice, wants to see it re-tooled to help the victims. She says the way released offenders are dealt with now, just doesn't work.

“Most people on registries represent people at minimal risk and tax dollars are better spent elsewhere,” Prizio said.

What happened on Wednesday doesn't mean state laws will get overhauled. There could be some additions, and some tweaks.

The commission has until December to make their final recommendations to the legislature.

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