Lawmakers Want Sex Offenders To Wear GPS Tracking Devices

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Representative Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) has a strict standard when it comes to dealing with sex offenders, "Make sure we know where they are every second of every day."

Currently, that’s not possible. When a sex offender is released from prison they are required to register with state and local authorities.

But as reported in the past, sex offenders must self report, and just a couple years ago the state had lost track of nearly 3,000 sex offenders who simply slipped off the rolls.

That’s why Rep. Suder wants to require first and second degree child sex offenders to wear GPS monitoring anklets. "GPS technology can help us make sure we know exactly where they are. If they violate the conditions of their parole or try to take off the tracking device law enforcement is notified immediately."

Suder doesn’t have an exact cost of the GPS tracking devices, but the Department of Corrections has been using a small number of the devices in a pilot program since 2003 and a spokesman says it costs about $9 a day per sex offender.

"It is far more cost–effective to have GPS tracking devices on every sex offender than to have men and women on the streets watching them 24 hours a day," says Suder.

But not everyone sees this as a cure all.

Patti Herman of Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin says most sex offenders haven’t been caught yet. "We may give parents a false sense of security. The reality is very few of our sex offenders are on the registry. Very few of our sex offenders have been identified."

A GPS anklet can track a sex offender anywhere-except the internet. "A lot of sexual predation begins through internet conversations between children and offenders," says Herman.

Rep. Suder says he has bipartisan support for his proposal.

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