A proposed law in New York would create a registry for convicted violent offenders. "Brittany's Law" would alert residents of someone moving into their neighborhood with a felony conviction due to a violent crime.
"I think it's everybody's right to know who's living in their neighborhood," said Jill Morgan from Tupper Lake, N.Y.
In 2009, 12-year-old Brittany Passalacqua was murdered by her mother's boyfriend, John Brown, in Geneva, New York. Brown was previously convicted of beating his infant child.
"Absolutely no idea, no way of finding out he had been released from prison," said Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, R-Peru.
Brittany's Law is a bill aiming to prevent tragedies like Brittany's. It targets criminals ranging from those convicted of assault during a bar fight to those found guilty of murder. Duprey is pushing for the bill to become law.
"As these violent offenders are released from prison, they register as the sex offenders do now. Basically the same process, so if they move into a neighborhood, if people are concerned they can look it up or find out," said Duprey.
While it may make sense to keep track of all convicted violent offenders and alert residents if one has moved into the area, not everyone agrees with Brittany's Law. The New York Civil Liberties Union calls it ineffective, cost-intensive and just not smart criminal justice.
In a statement, the NYCLU says, "It will not make society safer. The state would be better served by ensuring that former offenders can obtain the rehabilitation, education and counseling services they need to live stable, productive lives."
"We could test it out if any problems arise, maybe have a time limit on it. And if they are crime-free for a certain amount of time then they can be taken off the list. But no drawbacks so far," said Peter Cao from Plattsburgh.
Some northern New Yorkers believe convicted violent felons should bear a scarlet letter to make the public aware.
"I believe that's the price you got to pay when you're a violent criminal," said Morgan,
Brown was found guilty of murdering both Brittany and her mother. He is currently serving 40 years to life. Brittany's Law passed the New York State Senate last year, but it's still being debated in the state assembly, before it goes to Governor Cuomo.