Public Safety and Security Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-708

Title:

AN ACT CREATING A VIOLENT OFFENDER REGISTRY.

Vote Date

2/27/2007

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Change of Reference to Judiciary

PH Date:

1/30/2007

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECURITY COMMITTEE

REASONS FOR THE BILL:

The bill was prompted by a constituent request for a Violent Offenders Registry similar to the Sexual Offenders Registry in light of the murder of Sierra Giorgi from Waterford, CT. The man had served 14 years in prison for manslaughter.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Division of Criminal Justice, State of Connecticut. Supports the concept of the bill and suggests coordinating this registry with efforts currently underway in the Judicial Branch and elsewhere to allow for greater public dissemination of criminal record information through other means in order to avoid any duplication of effort.

JAMES PAPILLO, State Victim Advocate, Office of Victim Advocate, State of Connecticut. Supports the bill because it gives the public internet access to information about dangerous offenders living in their communities, information which will let them better prepare for their personal safety as well as the safety of their families. To make the bill effective, the Victim Advocate Office strongly urges that the General Assembly provide the necessary resources to fulfill the requirements of the bill.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

ELIZABETH SUNSHINE, Lyme, CT. The basic premise of Bill SB 708 is that the public has a right to know about ex-convicts living among them who have committed the most egregious offenses against society. A Violent Offender Registry is an appropriate resource that would make already publicly available information more accessible to Connecticut citizens about individuals in the community who may want to seriously harm or kill them.

DAVID SUNSHINE, Lyme, CT.. SB 708 gives residents in Connecticut the ability to protect themselves from individuals who have proven through their past actions their propensity to violent behavior. If Sierra Giorgi had access to information as proposed in this bill, she may have been able to avoid her fate, or at least would have been better able to protect herself.

CATHY GIORGI. Supports the bill because it gives the public a tool to help balance suspicions with legal records. “Sierra knew that there was 'something wrong' with her attacker. She did run him through the sex offender registry. If there had been a violent offender registry, Sierra Giorgi would be alive today!”

C. GARY LOOMIS, Fairfield, CA. Passage of this bill gives the legislature the unique ability to make a decision that will forever impact violent offenders' chances of repeating their horrific acts. Violent offenders should be subjected to the same standards currently applied to sexual offenders.

NANCY PICA, Meriden, CT. SB 708 is a natural extension of the Sexual Offender Registry. The information in the registry should include the offender's name, current address, photograph, the statutory reference for which the individual was convicted, and the status of the offender's compliance with registration. The bill must also include the resources necessary for the Department of Public Safety to create and maintain the registry.

CHRIS McCUTCHEON, Quaker Hill, CT. The Violent Offender Registry is a great first step in helping people help themselves to prevent violence. If Sierra Giorgi had access to a registry of violent offenders, “she could and would have prevented her own violent murder”.

JEAN COVEY, East Lyme, CT. Passage of this bill sends a message to the public that the General Assembly places a high priority on protecting the residents of Connecticut. It is an unfortunate reality that, despite rehabilitation programs, the majority of inmates will not have a significantly positive change in their behavior stemming from their incarceration. Eventually, most violent criminals are released into the general population, making it desperately necessary for the public to have a mechanism to track these dangerous criminals living in their midst.

MORGAN ELY, Lyme, CT. A Violent Offender Registry will give Connecticut residents a useful tool to help them find out about acquaintances that are hiding violent pasts. Sierra Giorgi knew the person who killed her, and believed he could be dangerous, but had no way to find out for sure. SB 708 makes information on violent offenders readily available and gives citizens a tool to protect their families from becoming victims of violent crimes.

ETHAN McCUTCHEON. It has been argued that the Violent Offender Registry provides for the public safety at the expense of the rights of those who have served time. The privacy vs. public safety issue must be weighed against the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics which show that 67.5% of prisoners are rearrested within 3 years and 51.8% are back in prison. Violent criminals are released only to commit the same crimes again. SB 708 gives the citizens of Connecticut the opportunity to protect themselves from this unending cycle of recidivism.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by: Matthew Gianquinto and Madeline Grabinski

Date: 3/2/2007