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Paroled sex offenders now monitored by GPS

January 12, 2009 |  3:32 pm

State corrections officials announced today that a majority of paroled sex offenders in California are being monitored by GPS technology.

The agency reports that 6,622 sex offenders have been fitted with GPS ankle bracelets, allowing their parole agents to immediately locate them.  The broad use of monitoring technology is an outgrowth of Proposition 83, or Jessica's Law, which was passed in 2006 by state voters. It required every offender to be outfitted with the technology.

The state is home to about 70,000 sex offenders. Nearly 11,000 parolees are under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Corrections. Those parolees without GPS monitoring systems are either in police custody or awaiting some kind of judicial hearing.

Corrections officials said placing the paroled offenders on GPS was completed six months ahead of schedule. About 40 offenders are assigned to each parole agent; the ratio for high-risk offenders is 20 to 1.

State officials say agents visit their parolees "on a routine basis," and agents are immediately notified when a parolee is in violation of his zoning requirements.

The Times reported in 2007 that thousands of sex offenders were not being regularly supervised either because their crimes predate Jessica's Law or because local law enforcement didn't have the resources to track them.

Local police departments, including the LAPD, have been using GPS technology to track the movements of paroled sex offenders in their jurisdictions.

-- Andrew Blankstein