State should merge sex offender registry with master conviction list

Published on Saturday, 4 November 2017 22:36
Written by Chris Powell

Journal Inquirer

Connecticut’s sex offender registry on the internet, like the registries of most states, presumes to make people safer by letting them know whether any such offender lives nearby. But any increase in safety is minimal as long as former offenders have access to transportation.

After all, flashers and predators who want to stay out of jail are not likely to continue their crimes where they are likely to be recognized. Further, many former offenders on the registry are something less than beasts in the bushes waiting to pounce but rather people who badly abused a personal relationship.

Being listed on the registry naturally impairs a former offender’s chances of getting a job and housing and thus living a decent life. So, according to The Day of New London, some members of the state’s Sentencing Commission are proposing to change the registry system to list only those sex offenders deemed by a committee to be at special risk of committing more sex crimes.

The idea means well but the committee would consist of paid professionals and thus would cost a lot of money without providing much more safety than the registry does now.

Besides, any criminal’s risk of reoffending should be reflected already in his sentence, which judges impose after hearing testimony. Judges are paid professionals too.

In any case, sex offenders are not necessarily more dangerous than other criminals. For example, the perpetrators of the infamous home invasion and murders in Cheshire in 2007 had burglary convictions.

Sex offender registries are mainly devices politicians use to engender fear in the public so they can go on to pose as the public’s protectors when no one really has been protected at all.

This doesn’t mean that the public should not know about criminal convictions. To the contrary, all convictions are public records and should be assembled by state government in a convenient format on the internet so people can construe the records as they wish. Photos and addresses of the convicted should be included for as long as the offenders are in prison or on probation or parole. People may decide to have nothing to do with the convicted or may hear them out before considering them for jobs, housing, or a personal relationship.

At least this way people will not be misled into thinking that sex offenders are necessarily more dangerous than other criminals and that government is protecting society against them when it is only pretending to. People always have to protect themselves.

* * *

Immigration exceeds assimilation: According to the Center for Immigration Studies, 20 percent of this country’s population now speaks at home a language other than English, an increase of 34 percent since 1990. This indicates that immigration is exceeding the country’s ability to assimilate immigrants into its culture.

Another indication is this week’s terrorist attack in New York, where an immigrant from Uzbekistan is reported to have shouted “God is great” in Arabic after driving a truck over a score of people, killing eight and injuring many more.

A rally in Hartford a week ago in support of an illegal immigrant whose deportation order is close to being enforced also suggested that immigration is out of control. That’s because the crowd chanted, “Undocumented! Unafraid!”

Of course illegal immigrants are afraid. But to pretend that they are not afraid is to suggest that no immigration law should be enforced and that the country should have no borders. That would be the end of the country, and if illegal immigrants want that to seem to be their objective, they will encourage more deportations.

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Saturday, 4 November 2017 22:36. Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2017 22:39.