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December 4, 2007

Another brave new world innovation for dealing with sex offenders

A helpful student alerted me to this fascinating news coming from the great state of Ohio concerning sex offender management.  (Technocorrection fans might want to be sitting down when reading this.)  Here are the basics:

State Sen. Tim Grendell of Chester Township, a vocal supporter of various measures aimed at getting tougher on crime, says he is excited about a Geauga County company's proposal "to take real-time monitoring of sex offenders to a new level."  He has invited the company to make a presentation Wednesday to a Senate subcommittee on a device it is developing and seeking to patent called "Offendar," short for offender radar.

Offendar LLC is marketing it as a "personal threat detection system featuring a key-fob sized electronic device."  The device would give the person carrying it "a vibrating, auditory or visual alarm when a sex offender or other person wearing a court-ordered electronic ankle bracelet is in the immediate vicinity."   Why is the company proposing it?  "The public wants more than after-the-fact tracking of sex offenders. Many people want to know when a threat is in the vicinity so they can take steps to protect themselves and their children before something happens," according to the company's presentation....

Grendell seems to have no reservations about the company's proposal. "In seeing their idea and understanding how it can enhance what Ohio is already doing, I was very impressed," he said in a memo Monday to fellow lawmakers and the media.

As of this writing, I cannot yet find a website for "Offendar LLC."  I'm not sure I would be "very impressed" by a company marketing a new high-tech device that does not even have a company website.  But maybe Offendar LLC has just been spending all its R&D time on its Offendar device.

UPDATE: Sorry for the snark, Offendar LLC, since now I see the company does that this website at offendar.com.

As regular readers know, I think lots of important technocorrection innovations are inevitable (and will raise all sort of new legal issues), in part because private industry will be devising and marketing new ways to achieve public safety.  The work of Offendar LLC, and its ability to quickly get the attention of a prominent state Senator, confirms my views.

Some related posts on sex offender GPS tracking:

December 4, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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The web address is offendar.com.

Posted by: Jerry Pignolet | Dec 4, 2007 4:51:01 PM

Electronic monitors can report the identification of all monitors that come within range so one could place one a monitor at the location to be protected (such as a preschool) with an audible alarm to warn the staff. In this mode it would be operating as an intrusion alarm but it could also be used to notify the offenders supervisor of a violation.

I suppose one could also warn the offender they are approaching a protected zone by using a modified pager the inverse of an electronic dog fence.

Posted by: John Neff | Dec 4, 2007 5:37:32 PM

With what seems like an ever-increasing number of efforts targeted at every politician's favorite election-time boogey-man, and therefore an ever-increasing number of persons classified as some type of sex offender, I can't help but think of the future ramifications of a scheme such as proposed by Offendar; every time a person with one of these early-warning "key fob" devices is in a crowd of any appreciable size, the device will be buzzing constantly, with one of two possible outcomes. Either 1) the person worried about sex offenders simply stops going any place in public with his or her children, or 2) the person comes to ignore the buzzing warnings, thereby negating the "warning" function. Either outcome, in my view, is hardly a beneficial development.

Posted by: ALB | Dec 4, 2007 10:04:02 PM

I'm headed to Ohio to market "Dweedle's Big Red 'M'" iron-on kit. I provide a large red "M" (for "molester" or "monster", take your pick) which can be applied with any conventional iron to a prevert's favorite t-shirt. No balky electronics to mess with. Everyone but the hopelessly near-sighted and impressively illiterate will be able to spot any prevert within 20 paces.

With all the preverts being convicted left and right in this country I ought to make enough money to buy a playboy pad and stock it full of 17 year old blondes and extra large tubs of butter in no time.


Posted by: dweedle | Dec 5, 2007 10:10:22 AM

So if I understand what they are saying correctly, the fob would start vibrating for anyone wearing an ankle bracelet whether they are a sex offender or not? So that means that the vibrating could be for either a convicted child molester or a juvenile wearing an ankle bracelet due to being caught shoplifting. Hardly seems helpful at all - and to add to ALB's possibility bad outcomes, may lead people and courts to reject using the ankle bracelets and home incarceration in appropriate cases (which seems to be very popular among juvenile courts due to the cost and scarcity of space in juvenile detention centers) due to the potential stigma of labeling people (such as the hypothetical juvenile shoplifter) as being a "sex offender" to other people.

Posted by: Zack | Dec 6, 2007 11:34:58 AM

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