Monday, May 16, 2005

Keeping Track on the Boogeyman

State Tracking Some Sex Offenders With GPS

The state [Massachusetts] began using global positioning satellite tracking technology to monitor some of the state's most dangerous sex offenders Wednesday.

"GeoFencing" From TracNET24

NewsCenter 5's Pam Cross reported that some sex offenders still under state supervision will be required to wear ankle straps that can pinpoint their location instantly.

Tracking Bracelet from iSECUREtrac
Beginning Wednesday, the state's most dangerous sex offenders who are released on parole will wear a GPS monitor so officers know where they are in the world.
Exclusion zones, like schools, can be set up to let officials know if an offender has gone too far.

"A 'stay away zone.' For instance, around a victim's home -- if they penetrate that home within 500 meters, an alarm would go off and a monitoring center would be notified 24 hours a day," said Massachusetts Probation Department Deputy Commissioner Paul Lucci.
Opponents call satellite tracking an invasion of privacy for ex-convicts who have served their sentences. Proponents don't agree.

"But it's also exculpatory. If they're doing the right thing, we know right away they weren't involved in the crime," said Panagiotakos.

State Tracking Some Sex Offenders With GPS - Yahoo! News

To me, this technology creates as many slippery slopes as a ski resort.
What happens after a trackee commits a crime anyway? Is the tracker liable?
Picture the anguished parents demanding that all the monitor information be made available to the public all the time. For, they would not have let their child go out of they had known a criminal was lurking nearby. Let everyone see the tracks and make their own decisions.
Well, then what about the liberty of the trackees? A different class of citizens that do not have the same rights as others. Can we rely on the courts to manage this?
According to an article in the Houston Chronicle 12/5/04, some ex-cons are classified as sex offenders by the parole board even though they were convicted of some other crime:
...said Bryan Collier, director of the Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice...Collier said 3,910 people classified as sex offenders are under parole supervision in Texas.

Of that number, he estimated that "probably less than 100" do not have sex offense convictions. In such cases, he said, the parole board notices "something in their criminal background that looks funny" and requires a sex -offender evaluation as a condition of parole.

Are we really smart enough to manage something like this?


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