Sex offenders removing GPS trackers: Across the state of California, convicted sex offenders who are on parole are reportedly removing their court-required GPS tracking devices.
In a worrying trend, it was reported last week that sex offenders in California removing or disarming their GPS tracking devices, which are mandated by the court. Some have been charged with new crimes, including kidnapping and attempted manslaughter.
An investigation by the Los Angeles Times found the offenders can disable the devices with little consequence.
“It’s a huge problem,” Matt Hill, a Fresno-based parole agent, told the paper. “If the public knew, they’d be shocked.”
To underscore his claims, since October 2011, there have been more than 3,400 arrest warrants issued for people who have tampered with their GPS devices. Parole violators including many of those who tampered with the devices are being sent to local jails instead of being sent to prison because of overcrowding in California’s detention facilities. These jails hold the sex offenders for a short while before they are released.
“Depending on what county you’re in. If you’re in Fresno County, if you’re in Stanislaus County, they aren’t taking parole violators, because of overcrowding,” Lynn Brown, a victims’ advocate from Advocates for Public Safety, told Bay Area-based KTVU last year.
The maximum penalty for sex offenders who breach the terms of their parole is around 180 days in jail, but many don’t serve that long, the Times reported. As a result, these parolees are “certainly are feeling more bold,” said Jack Wallace, who serves as the executive at the California Sex Offender Management Board.
For example, convicted child stalker Rithy Mam was detained and free three times in two months after skipping parole. He was freed nearly immediately in each instance, but was later taken into custody on charges of child molestation, the Times said.
In 2006, Californians voted to require that high-risk sex offenders should be tracked with GPS monitors for life. The devices are attached to their ankle with rubber straps and include a fiber-optic cable, according to The Associated Press.
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