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Lawmakers seek prison time for GPS violators

January 8, 2013 |  7:00 am

Lawmakers alarmed at an increase in the number of sex offenders violating parole have vowed legislation to make tampering with their electronic tracking devices a crime that sends them back to prison.

Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) on Monday filed what is known as a “spot” bill, intended to be filled later with language that makes it a felony to cut off a GPS-aided ankle bracelet. Lieu contends an increasing number of parolees are cutting off their GPS monitoring devices “because they’re convinced little will happen to them.”

Under California’s prison realignment program, parole violators serve their time in county jails instead of prisons. If those jails are full, they are likely to be among the first to be released early.

Lieu said state corrections officials reported 173 parole violators cut off their bracelets from October 2010 to September 2011. With realignment in October 2011, the 12-month rate jumped to nearly 300 violations.

An initial policy hearing on the bill, SB 57, has not yet been set. Sen. Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) is a co-sponsor. 

A second bill, AB 2 filed in December by Assemblyman  Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), would create new prison terms for paroled sex offenders who fail to register with local law enforcement.

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--Paige St. John in Sacramento

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