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December 21, 2007

California commission considering costs of sex offender laws

As detailed in this AP article, an "advisory panel created by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger considered Thursday how to fix the sex-offender law passed last year because it fails to say who is responsible for tracking offenders' whereabouts once they complete parole."  Here are more details:

The initiative, known as Jessica's Law, was approved by 70 percent of voters in 2006. It stiffens penalties for sex offenders, prohibits released offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park and requires that they wear satellite tracking devices for the rest of their lives.   

But the law doesn't specify whether the state, counties or local police departments should have jurisdiction over offenders once they are off parole. It also does not include money to pay for lifetime GPS monitoring and has no penalty for ex-parolees who simply remove the ankle bracelets....

Representatives of county sheriff's and local police departments said they do not have enough money or staff to take over the monitoring program. The corrections department estimates it could cost about $7 per day to monitor each offender with a minimal GPS monitoring system. The state's more extensive GPS system costs about $33 per offender per day, but that includes the cost of the parole agents.

"We don't know what it's going to cost, and the conservative estimates are hundreds of millions of dollars" as more offenders complete parole, said Nancy O'Malley, chief assistant district attorney in Alameda County.

There are so many interesting and telling dimensions to this story: the public's broad support for GPS tracking without concern for the costly particulars; the inevitability of technocorrections being impeded by cost concerns; the willingness of Gov. Schwarzenegger to create a commission to study this issue while he opposed the creation of a much-needed sentencing commission for his state.

Some related posts on sex offender GPS tracking:

December 21, 2007 at 08:07 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I have a concern on the title "sex offender" If you have been arrested for indecent exposure, say streaking down the street and say it happened 10 years ago, you served 30 days in jail for this offense. Does this also put you in the catorgory of a "sex offender" and would you have to wear the GPS device for something that happened so long ago? So therefore you will have to pay for the GPS device as well?

Posted by: BEV ROBINS | Dec 22, 2008 7:21:09 PM

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