A bipartisan duo of state legislators has teamed up to announce they plan to push legislation that would prohibit registered sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools or day care centers — a move that would restrict these offenders from livng almost anywhere in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven.

“The last thing a parent should have to worry about when they send their child to school is whether a depraved sex offender is lurking around the corner from the jungle gym or classroom,” Rep. Themis Klarides, R-Derby, said when announcing the proposal last week.

“Keeping sex offenders away from kids is a common-sense policy that many people assume is already in place, but has been met with inexcusable opposition from other legislative leaders in the past several years. I call on my colleagues to do the right thing for our communities and support this legislation when the 2014 Session convenes.”

Sen. Joseph Crisco Jr., D-Woodbridge, agrees.

“State statutes require known sex offenders and predators to register their whereabouts for very good reason –- to safeguard residents and protect them from any recurrence of previous behavior that prompted registration in the first place,” said Crisco. “This initiative is a straightforward extension of these safeguards and protections and if enacted, will help separate those on the registry from schools and day care centers where children congregate.”

The proposal also seeks to bolster penalties for crimes committed in these “child safety zones” they are proposing.

The Black and Puerto Rican Caucus unsuccessfully pushed for a new law that would do the contrary. Current safety areas around schools — 1,500 foot zones known as “drug-free zones” that have increased penalties if caught selling or using drugs within in them — members of the caucus say disproportionately impact minorties.

“The punishment shouldn’t be enhanced because of where you live,” Rep. Douglas McCrory, D-Hartford, said this past spring during a debate on the floor of the state House of Representatives. “Fair is fair.”

See here for the town-by town drug zone maps that highlight almost everywhere in the state’s cities that are within 1,500 feet of a school or day care center.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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