Monthly Archives: October 2008

GPS Coming Soon to a Sex Offender Near You

Starting today, Washington’s level 3 sex offenders will now be hooked up with GPS locators for their first month outside of prison, according to Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis.

Corrections officials began using the monitoring devices in Sept. 2007, following Gov. Chris Gregoire’s recommendation to do so. Gregoire’s opinion was based on findings by a task force headed by our own Kitsap County Prosecutor, Russ Hauge.
“We only expand programs that we believe help improve public safety,” Department of Corrections Secretary Eldon Vail said in Lewis’ press release. “These GPS locators give our officers another tool to supervise the highest-risk sex offenders.”

After 30 days, some level 3 offenders will have to continue to wear locators. Those offenders either:

  • lack stable housing;
  • lack steady employment;
  • have failed to comply with mandatory programs, such as chemical dependency, mental-health treatment, sexual deviancy counseling.

More from Lewis:

“As of Sept. 12, all 89 sex offenders who met the criteria for the locators were wearing them. More than 200 offenders have either worn locators or are still wearing one. State statutes only allow DOC to place locators on sex offenders who were sentenced after July 1, 2000.

The expansion is expected to more than double the current number of GPS locators being used.

“We’ve found that the first 30 days is the period when an offender is most likely to violate his or her supervision,” Program Administrator Anmarie Aylward said. “They’re just returning to their community and it takes time for them to find a stable environment. That’s the period when they need the most enhanced supervision.”’

Vail says the electronic-monitoring system, which includes tracking computers at local DOC offices, is labor intensive but has been a valuable addition.

“No single piece of equipment can guarantee an offender won’t commit a new crime,” Vail said. “But GPS locators provide our officers with valuable information.”

In other DOC news, the prison system has recently recalled all its inmates they’d outsourced to private prisons in Arizona.