Auditor General wants sex offenders to wear GPS bracelets

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HARRISBURG -- State Auditor General Jack Wagner, state Sen. Jane Orie and other officials are urging the Legislature to require convicted sex offenders to wear ankle bracelets containing "global positioning system" technology for five years after being released from jail.

Mr. Wagner, a former state senator from Beechview, released a report today saying that in June, the state had "lost track of 923, or nearly 10 percent, of the state's approximately 9,800 registered sex offenders."

The most serious offenders, called "sexually violent predators," who are guilty of sex crimes against children, now must notify their probation officers every three months of their whereabouts, once they are out of prison. People convicted of sex crimes against adults must register annually, unless they move, which they must tell authorities immediately.

When offenders fail to notify authorities about a move, either intentionally or through an oversight, the state can lose track of them. But with a GPS ankle bracelet, their locations would always be known, Mr. Wagner said, and the public would be much safer.

The technology operates similarly to GPS monitors on a car's dashboard, to let a driver know where he is.

Ms. Orie and other legislators said they will work to enact such GPS legislation when they return this fall.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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