"This tragedy is so profound and offensive that we all have to step back and see what we could do to make our communities safer," says Vermont Corrections Commissioner Rob Hofmann.
Hofmann unveiled changes Wednesday that he hopes will prevent a tragedy like this one case from happening again. Brooke Bennett's uncle, Michael Jacques, was released from probation seven years early for raping and kidnapping a Rutland teen in 1992.
Hofmann wants to change the system-- requiring more corrections officials to weigh in on the decision to release violent sex offenders into society.
"Are there certain crimes that are so severe that it requires us to have a higher level manager, perhaps the head of probation and parole, review those most severe cases?" asks Hofmann.
Among other changes being outlined by the Corrections Commissioner-- a change in sex offender supervision. Sex offenders are currently supervised based on the geographic area they live in. Hofmann wants to change the system so that sex offenders are supervised only by parole officers that specialize in sex offender surveillance, which he acknowledges is a challenge in the state's most rural communities.
"Sex offenders are very cunning, very manipulative, very secretive, and having staff that specialize in that would probably improve our chances of cutting through the lies, deception, and secrecy," says Hofmann.
The majority of convicted sex offenders are not incarcerated, especially lower level offenders.
Many prosecutors that deal with sex offender cases would like to see that change, but Hofmann says that may be unrealistic given the constraints the corrections system is facing-- specifically budget and space issues.
Hofmann says it's up to the community to help rehabilitate many of these offenders.
"It's educators, people who work in youth groups, families, it's law enforcement. It's corrections," says Hofmann.
Hofmann also says he's also actually pushing for less supervision of non-violent sex offenders that are just being released from prison. He says he'd rather divert more resources to supervising people like Michael Jacques-- sex offenders who have been convicted of high-end crimes like aggravated sexual assault.
Hofmann said the judge did not order a pre-sentencing investigation in the Jacques case.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:45 PM EST2013-12-11 00:45:37 GMT
"Today I am proud to launch Connect Vermont, an initiative to deliver by 2013 my promise of high-speed internet access and cell service to every corner of our state," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont,More >>
In a few weeks, Gov. Peter Shumlin will become the second Vermont governor to fall short on a pledge to bring cellphone and high-speed internet access to every Vermonter that wants it. What's the next step to connect the state? More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 5:57 PM EST2013-12-10 22:57:37 GMT
Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, has been re-elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. The DGA held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Monday, where the governor was uncontestedMore >>
Vt. Gov. Peter Shumlin has been re-elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:48 PM EST2013-12-11 00:48:09 GMT
Vermonters who didn't pay ticket prices of up to $10,000 to hear New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak during an upcoming visit likely won't get to hear him via the media.More >>
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie will make a stop in Vermont Wednesday to address nearly 700 Republican Party members. The Essex Jct. event is sold out, but there aren't any media outlets on the guest list. Melissa Howell explains why.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 6:10 PM EST2013-12-10 23:10:24 GMT
When Vermont received an F from the Center For Public Integrity for financial disclosure requirements for state Supreme Court justices, it didn't ruffle too many feathers. "We weren't surprised by theMore >>
Vermont was one of many states that received a failing grade for what is required for financial disclosure for state Supreme Court justices. Some civil rights organizations say it's just a small part of an even bigger problem for the state.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:41 AM EST2013-12-10 16:41:55 GMT
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store. Police say at about 9:45 p.m. Monday, a man entered the South Main Grocery and displayed a weapon. He left the storeMore >>
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 3:28 PM EST2013-12-10 20:28:00 GMT
Fast food and quick cash? Police say a couple targeted McDonald's in Morrisville Monday night. Investigators say David McNab, 25, and Anna Gilchrist, 23, tried to rob the restaurant at about 9 p.m. TheirMore >>
Police say a man and woman face tried to rob the McDonald's in Morrisville Monday night.More >>