A New Process to Track Sex Offenders

Monday, May 30, 2011  |  Updated 10:56 AM PDT
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A New Process to Track Sex Offenders

NBC San Diego

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California parole agents will change how they monitor and respond to alarms from tracking devices that are affixed to released sex offenders.

An internal California Department of Corrections report obtained by The Associated Press found that parole agents spend 44 percent of their work weeks reviewing the computer-tracked movements of parolees, and just 12 percent in the field.

They'll get some relief Wednesday, when the companies that provide the satellite-linked ankle bracelets will begin screening the tens of thousands of electronic alarms that flood in each month.

The companies will forward the most serious alerts to parole agents while weeding out those that signal more mundane problems such a low battery or lost cell phone signal.

The companies that provide the GPS equipment also will screen the alerts in selected areas and attempt to contact parolees if, for instance, their bracelets have lost contact or the battery has run low.

Parole agents will be contacted if the parolee cannot be reached or if an alert signals a danger, such as a parolee getting too close to a victim's home.

California tracks more paroled sex offenders with GPS than any other state, at a cost of $60 million a year.

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