Sex Offenders Are Removing Their GPS Tracking Devices

GPS technology has allowed prisons to reduce costs by releasing sex offenders back into the community, monitoring their whereabouts remotely.  However, when a parolees subverts the technology, law enforcement has to rely on old fashioned police work to find them.

The California State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) tracks more than 7,000 registered sex offenders. The people are tracked via ankle GPS tracking devices. The monitors are attached to a band, which has wires inside, that is strapped tightly onto an offender’s ankle. The parolee is responsible for ensuring that the unit remains firmly attached, undamaged, and charged. The band, when damaged, removed, or whenever a parolee goes to a location which violates his/her parole, like a liquor store, an agent is notified.

According to Ned Pepper, a parolee who recently removed his shackle, the ankle monitoring band can be cut off with just regular scissors.

For California residents, hearing that a sex offender can easily remove his/her monitoring band, may be unsettling.

Local news agencies were recently notified that five violators disabled or removed their monitors.

According to James Stanton, unit supervisor at the local CDCR office, the monitoring system works. When parolees do disable or remove the device, notifying an agent, they are easily found. According to Stanton “We’ll have family members telling us where they are or just citizens who have seen the person.”

Three of the five violators are back in jail.

Source: Photo: Brant Ward, The Chronicle / SF