Sen. Ted W. Lieu Takes on Issue of Parolees Removing GPS-aided Ankle Bracelets

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Sen. Ted Lieu

Citing recent state data showing a two-thirds jump in parolees who illegally remove ankle-mounted monitoring bracelets, Sen. Ted W. Lieu today introduced a bill making such actions a felony.

“An increasing number of California parolees are cutting off their GPS monitoring devices because they’re convinced little will happen to them,” Lieu said in explaining the need for Senate Bill 57. “By making this crime a new felony, we can only hope these former prisoners, most of them either convicted sex offenders or hard-core gang members, will have second thoughts to roaming freely among the public with zero oversight.”

Sen. Michael Rubio of Bakersfield, joint author of SB 57, said he supported Lieu’s measure, in part because the issue impacts the Central Valley.

“With the large number of offenders coming to the Central Valley and communities throughout California, we must do all we can to protect local residents and make sure that law enforcement knows where these criminals are at all times,” Rubio said. “I look forward to working with Sen. Lieu to make sure that anyone who removes these GPS-enabled devices is locked up.”

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation provided the following information on GPS monitoring of parolees:

  • As of last Dec. 11, nearly 7,500 parolees are currently tracked by GPS monitoring, all of but 343 of those are sex offenders.
  • From October of 2010 through September 2011, 173 of those parolees cut off their bracelets.
  • Between October 2011 through September 2012, however, nearly 300 had cut off their monitors.

In addition, some parolees never showed up to get their monitors. Others reported to their parole officer with the monitor attached to their leg, but then cut it off and disappeared.

Recent media reports concluded that 1,165 parole violators in California — many of them sex offenders — have cut off or disconnected their GPS electronic monitors after being released from prison.

“Those parolees are unaccounted for and authorities have no way to track them down,” Lieu said, adding that the problem is that there are too few consequences for parolees who cut off the GPS device. “Cutting off an ankle bracelet is a parole violation, which can incur 180 days in county jail. When you count in the overcrowded county jails and other factors, sometimes they don’t serve any time, or sometimes just a few days.”

An initial policy hearing on SB 57 has not yet been set.

For more information visit Sen. Ted W. Lieu’s website.

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