TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Local lawmakers met in Tallahassee to look at changing sex offender laws Tuesday.
The meeting came after a new report from the Department of Children & Families and the death of Cherish Perrywinkle. We went to the head of the agency to ask if mistakes were made putting sex offenders on the street.
Cherish was murdered in June. Police say taken by a local sex offender, raped and killed. But the question many have is why Donald Smith was out of jail in the first place. He had numerous convictions and was even recommended to be evaluated for sex offender treatment at one point. But that didn't happen.
That's why the interim secretary of DCF ordered a review on the office.
"I wanted experts not inside DCF to give me an idea of what we can do better," said Esther Jacobo.
One of those things is having confidence in evaluators and referring cases for further review, if there is any doubt an offender could re-offend.
The report says those rates of re-offending are low, less than 5 percent. "I think mistakes are made in every aspect if you're trying to predict future behavior," said Jacobo.
While the interim secretary says they will never get to 100 percent accuracy, they owe it to the community to try.
"I think it'll get better as we learn more and learn from mistakes," said Jacobo.
Sheriff John Rutherford also sat on the expert panel Tuesday. He says officers need to be able to look inside homes of offenders and predators when police do address checks.
Rutherford also wants any vehicle accessible to an offender or predator to be registered with FDLE.
This is just the beginning of the process. The changes could take several months.