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Should sex offenders pay an annual fee to be in the registry?

When someone is convicted of committing a crime in Connecticut, as in states across the country, he or she is expected to abide by the terms of their sentence. The sentence ruling specifies the type, severity, and duration of penance the individual owes to the victim/s and society as a whole. However, some crimes can carry life-long sentences and/or implications. What happens, then, when new legislation threatens to add penalties to offenders that are already serving out their extended sentences?

In most states, those that have been convicted of sex offenses are required to register with a database that monitors their location and movement. Among other stipulations of their conviction, many sex offenders are also required to pay a one-time cash fee to register in their state.

Many states are now considering the idea of imposing an annual registration fee on sex offenders, claiming that the money will be used to offset the cost of running the database. Similarly, some legislatures argue that the proposed fees could bring needed revenue to states.

While one bill promoting the fee does note that sex offenders that do not meet minimum income levels or other requirements could be exempt from paying, it also adds that charges can be made against those that don't.

Among the evidence countering the value of registration fees is that some states are unsuccessful at even collecting them. A judge in one state has already ruled that these type of fees are unconstitutional, and the American Civil Liberties Union has voiced concern over singling out convicts to fund state services like sex offender databases.

Source: ctpost.com, "Michigan's sex offenders could face annual fees," Alanna Durkin, March 24, 2013

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