New Sex Offender Registry
Vermont has some of the most effective, tough, and sane laws on sex offenders in the nation. Below is an advance shortened press release from the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence:
APPLAUDS LEGISLATURE’S WORK
ON NEW SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY BILL
May 18, 2007 -- The Vermont legislature last week passed a law that will expand Vermont’s sex offender registry requirements for high-risk, untreated perpetrators of sexual violence who are currently incarcerated.
“Vermont has some of the best laws in the country to deal with the epidemic of sexual violence. These laws have been carefully and thoughtfully crafted to protect the safety and rights of victims, to enhance the safety of our communities, and to reflect national best practices in treating and supervising those who commit crimes of sexual violence,” stated Karen Tronsgard-Scott, director of the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
Vermont crime statistics indicate that more than 97% of crimes of sexual violence reported to Vermont law enforcement in 2005 were committed by someone known to the victim. Much attention nationally has been focused on aggressive campaigns supporting very lengthy mandatory minimum sentences and extensive residency restrictions for sex offenders. These public policy approaches fail to consider the true nature of sexual violence in our communities, and can in fact backfire and result in less accountability for those who commit these heinous crimes.
Lengthy mandatory minimum sentences for crimes of sexual violence in Vermont would likely result in more acquittals for perpetrators of sexual violence. The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence opposes lengthy mandatory minimum sentences, stating: “Long mandatory minimum sentences can have a number of negative consequences that serve to decrease, rather than increase, public safety. For example, lengthy mandatory minimum sentences sometimes result in prosecutors not filing charges or filing charges for a lesser crime than a sex offense, as well as increased plea bargains down to a lesser crime. Similarly, judges or juries may be less inclined to convict a defendant on a sex offense because of the mandatory minimum sentence.... All of these possible negative consequences can result in fewer sex offenders being prosecuted and/or tracked….” (www.naesv.org)
Vermont passed several new provisions in the past two years that deal sensibly and comprehensively with the issue of sexual violence.
See www.vtnetwork.org for the full press release and more details.