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Testimony Opposing Senate Bill 901 – An Act Concerning A Registry of Persons Convicted of Financial Crimes Against Elderly Persons

SB 901

My name is Cindy Prizio, Executive Director of One Standard of Justice, and I have dedicated the last eight years of my life to putting a stop to the harms caused by public registries. I testify against Senate Bill 901, because it perpetuates the same harms, and will fail to make our state any safer for seniors.

I, and my organization, are primarily focused on the public Sex Offense Registry (or SOR), which has been in existence in Connecticut for 25 years. Senate Bill 901 is essentially a cut and paste of the same statutes that codify the SOR, and so what we have learned from the past 25 years applies to this bill.

Naming, shaming, and blaming are not the way to create safe, healthy, sustainable communities. Public registries deny people their human dignity and rob them of their constitutional rights.

Plainly stated, public registries are failed policy and do not prevent crime or reduce reoffending, nor do they make communities and their citizens safer. I would be happy to share with you some of the studies that demonstrate the ineffectiveness of public registries.

Public registries are costly to both implement and maintain and are a waste of taxpayers’ money as they are ineffective. I would be remiss not to bring up the deplorable state of the CT SOR. The registry is bloated and poorly maintained. Why would this new registry be any different?

More importantly, public registries ruin lives – not only the lives of those who are registered, but their families and children who become collateral damage. The latest research illustrates that these “secondary registrants” often suffer from PTSD. Individuals and their families on registries face tremendous burdens to finding stable employment, housing, and community support. Enacting a registry reduces the chances of rehabilitation and may even increase recidivism. Public registries create or exacerbate mental health issues, including suicidal ideation and the aforementioned PTSD, both for the person forced to register and their loved ones.

In the past, public registries were implemented for homosexuals and communists. I wish I could tell you we could never do anything like that today, but we are just as likely today to place fear over facts. I can understand how fear and a desire for retribution can result in a bill like this. Next, we may consider making another registry for “animal abusers”, “drunk drivers”, “domestic abusers”, all people with a felony conviction, and on and on. The number of registries that can be justified are limited only by public fears. Simply put, well-intentioned but misguided people create bad policy.

We demand evidence-based alternatives to SB901 that have a proven track record of actually preventing offending instead of only causing further harm. Solutions should be pursued in the suggested study of the needs of senior citizens.

God save the world from public registries.

We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.