"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.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.State Police say Route 5 in Derby Line is closed near Caswell Avenue because of a hole in the pavement just a couple of feet over the lineMore >>
A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>