Vt. Corrections Changes Sex Offender Policies - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Corrections Changes Sex Offender Policies

Brooke Bennett Brooke Bennett
Michael Jacques Michael Jacques
Rob Hofmann Rob Hofmann

Waterbury, Vermont - July 16, 2008

"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.

Keagan Harsha - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Special Session on Sex Offender Laws?

More Calls to Change Vermont Sex Offender Laws

Dubie: Vermont Must Get Tough on Sex Offenders

Evaluating Vermont's First Amber Alert

Governor: Corrections Made a Mistake on Jacques

Corrections Supported Early Probation Release for Jacques

Hundreds Turn Out for Brooke's Funeral

Brooke's Death Ruled a Homicide

A New Call for Jessica's Law in Vermont

Jacques Could Face Death Penalty Judge OKed Early Probation Release for Jacques

Court Papers: Uncle Brought Brooke Home for Sex

The Criminal Past of Brooke's Uncle

Brooke's Uncle Charged in Child Sex Ring

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Winooski man killed in motorcycle accident

    Winooski man killed in motorcycle accident

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:58:40 GMT
    There's been a tragedy on the Burlington beltway Thursday night. Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltway. The name has been releasedMore >>
    Burlington Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltline.More >>
  • Stowe couple dead in murder-suicide

    Stowe couple dead in murder-suicide

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:08:04 GMT
    Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
    A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags.
    More >>
  • Leicester man charged with shootings appears in court

    Leicester man charged with shootings appears in court

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
    A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
    A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
  • Woman sentenced in Vt. crash that killed motorcyclist

    Woman sentenced in Vt. crash that killed motorcyclist

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
    A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
    A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. cruiser crushing has June trial

    Man charged in Vt. cruiser crushing has June trial

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:34 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:34:06 GMT
    A Vermont man accused of crushing seven sheriffs' vehicles with a farm tractor is scheduled for trial in June.More >>
    A Vermont man accused of crushing seven sheriffs' vehicles with a farm tractor is scheduled for trial in June.More >>
  • Teen arrested in St. Albans bomb threat

    Teen arrested in St. Albans bomb threat

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
    A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
    Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>
  • Missing Rutland woman found safe

    Missing Rutland woman found safe

    Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
    A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
    A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>
  • Big buyer for Big Blue?

    Big buyer for Big Blue?

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:07:19 GMT
    IBM and chip production may soon be parting ways. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Blue is looking to unload three chipmaking plants-- two in upstate New York and its Vermont plant in Essex Junction.More >>
    With indications IBM may sell off its chipmaking plants, we talked to the company experts say may buy them. GlobalFoundries already has employees working at IBM in Essex Junction through a partnership, and experts say that could help the company decide whether the plant is a worthy investment.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.