Utah officials considering changes to the sex offender registry

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By Mark Shenefelt

SALT LAKE CITY — State officials are considering changes to the sex offender registry, starting with deeper data gathering to determine whether it is safe for more offenders to be removed from the system after long-term treatment and no repeat crimes.

Monica Diaz, Utah Sentencing Commission executive director, said a lack of more precise analysis prevents such potential flexibility.

“We may not capture who we think we are capturing,” she said. “There may be some in the registry who have a low risk to re-offend and we may be missing some with moderate or high risk.”

A work group of legislators, prosecutors, victims’ advocates and others are studying the issue, Diaz reported Tuesday to the Legislature’s Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee.

Existing state law says offenders convicted of first-degree felonies are on the registry for life, but those who committed misdemeanors and some lower-degree felonies can petition a court or the Utah Department of Corrections for removal after 10 years.

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