Daily Archives: November 21, 2007

So what should the reforms be?

The Judiciary Committee’s public hearing on the 14 legislative proposals to reform CT’s criminal justice system is less than a week away. I covered the co-chair’s proposal here and the rest are available here.

As has been discussed ad nauseam, the most popular proposals include a three strikes law, making “home invasion” a violent offense, GPS monitoring, abolishing parole, building more prisons and perhaps higher sentences.

Yet, a Quinnipiac poll last month showed that CT voters are more nuanced than that. Recently, the JFA institute released a report [pdf] entitled “Unlocking America: Why and How to Reduce America’s Prison Population”. It is a very interesting report and is a must read. Hopefully the legislators like Mike Lawlor and Andrew McDonald will take a look at it before the hearing next week. If offers up the following six recommendations:

  • Reduce time served in prison
  • Eliminate the use of prison for parole or probation technical violators
  • Reduce the length of parole and probation supervision periods
  • Decriminalize “victimless” crimes, particularly those related to drug use and abuse
  • Improve conditions of imprisonment
  • Restore ex-prisoner voting and other rights

So, with the holiday coming up and blogging being light, let’s have a poll. What do you think the most effective reform to CT’s criminal justice system would be?

What should be the reform?
Nothing – the system doesn’t need reforming
Three Strikes Law
Abolish Parole
Increase mandatory minimum sentences
GPS monitoring
Create a new violent crime of home invasion
Provide more treatment
Build more prisons

Free polls from Pollhost.com

Shamelessly inspired by CTLP.

Sex offender homelessness: a growing problem

USA Today has two pieces covering the growing problem of sex offender homelessness due to strict residency restrictions and the real dangers posed by it.

Thousands of convicted sex offenders are reporting to police that they are homeless, raising concerns that their lack of a permanent address could make them difficult to track, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Sex offenders, who are required to register with police and often barred by law from living near places where children gather, list addresses such as a tent, “near a bike path,” “behind a cemetery” or “woods behind Wal-Mart.”

Two-thirds of the states allow convicted sex offenders, including violent predators, to register as homeless or list a shelter or inexact location as long as they stay in touch with police.

At least a dozen states list hundreds of sex offenders without specific addresses. California registered 2,716 as “transient.” Washington state listed 564 as homeless, but the number is probably much higher, says Carolyn Sanchez of the Washington State Patrol.

Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine and other states say the number of homeless sex offenders is rising. Landlords often won’t rent to them, and laws in dozens of states and hundreds of cities bar them from living near areas where kids play.

The primary cause of this homelessness is their inability to secure any sort of housing in cities and towns due to excessively strict residency restrictions. This creates public safety problems on two fronts: It makes it difficult for law enforcement to keep track of them and it increases the sense of isolation, frustration and loneliness felt by the homeless.

Residency restrictions in their current form have no visible impact on the reduction of crime and in fact, may well end up being counterproductive.

Sex Crimes also has this covered.