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Overcrowding leads to sex offenders being paroled

Due to a federal court mandate to ease overcrowding in California's prisons, many prisoners were paroled, and a number of those released were sex offenders. California mandates that those convicted of sex crimes wear GPS monitors for life, but many of the offenders wearing these units tamper with them without being punished, and some have even committed new crimes since. Incidentally, most of the 3,400 arrest warrants that were issued for monitor tampering between October 2011 and December 2012 are for high-risk sex offenders, rapists and child molesters, according to recent findings.

Many of these sexual offender parolees have been charged with new sexually related crimes, along with kidnapping and attempted manslaughter. In an effort to comply with realignment, the state began sending those who violated parole to county jails. However, some counties either released them almost immediately or declined to take them. One specific case that is cited is a child stalker who violated his parole three times in a two-month period. He removed his GPS tracker after his third release at the county level and vanished. Later, he was arrested in Stockton for the suspected molestation of two female teens.

The GPS devices are used to record the parolee's movements. If they are tampered with or the parolee enters an off-limits zone, a text or an email the wearer's parole officer. The devices aren't difficult to remove since they are simply fiber-optic cables embedded in rubber straps.

People who face sex offense charges may want to consult a criminal defense attorney who may be able to have to charges reduced to avoid prison time. There is also the possibility of avoiding a conviction that includes a lifetime of GPS monitoring.

Source: USA Today, "Thousands of Calif. sex offenders disable GPS monitors," Michael Winter, Feb. 27, 2013

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