Tag and release

Should we track domestic violence abusers (or rapists and pedophiles for that matter) by implanting GPS chips in convicted offenders? It’s an interesting question and one explored in an article on Slate by Maura Kelly.

Just as GPS can find a lost driver, it can also alert cops and targets whenever a domestic-violence offender enters a restricted zone, like the area surrounding a woman’s home or office. Police put an electronic bracelet on the batterer that sends a signal to computer servers at headquarters if he goes anywhere he shouldn’t. Then, if he violates a restraining order, they can call the woman to let her know that he is on his uninvited way. The idea is to buy women crucial time, even if it’s only minutes, so they can get away. The notification loop also kicks in if the offender tries to remove or deactivate the bracelet.

The topic is all the more interesting considering Nevada’s place in the nation on domestic violence homicides (we’re No. 2) and instances of reported sexual assault. And let me add another log on the fire: Nevada and indeed most states in the nation suck at tracking sex offenders, including pedophiles. Sure, they’re supposed to register with the police, but that’s about it. After that, in most states the only follow-up is a postcard sent once a year to their last-known address to make sure they still live there. What’s worse, here in Nevada our sex offender registry doesn’t even link to the national database!

There’s a lot to be outraged about when it comes to women and violence in the Silver State. So is court-ordered GPS tracking the answer (there are laws in some states that allow a judge to order it)? The outraged survivor in me says yes. But what does this mean for civil rights? Is it inviting Big Brother in if we ask him to monitor convicted offenders? I’m not sure. What do you think?

One thought on “Tag and release

  1. Although I’ve posted to several sex offender blogs, I still feel it’s very important to get this message through. Our children and families are under a greater threat of domestic terrorism than at any point in our country. We should consider not only restriction the length of distance a child molester lives from our schools and parks, but consider a concentrated place to intern registered sex offenders AWAY from ALL children and vulnerable citizens.

    It is time we seriously consider building sex offender colonies throughout the western United States and Alaska.

    It is obvious. Nobody wants sex offenders to live in their neighborhoods, or even their cities. I’m a parent, and I would fight tooth and nail to prevent sex offenders from living anywhere that children may live, even if their victims were people they knew. It means NOTHING to me; what means EVERYTHING to me is they committed an atrocious crime against children. That’s enough for me.

    Unfortunately, these sex offenders have rights. If they are not in prison, they will probably get the ACLU to sue the city and we will have to spend thousands of dollars defending the restrictions.

    The ONLY thing, therefore, is to create an amendment to the US Constitution, creating sex offender colonies to restrict where these convicted sex offenders live in the first place. How to do this?

    The first thing that needs to be done is to create an outline of such an amendment. I looked at the process for how an amendment is created. Here is the process:

    Under Article V, there are two ways to propose amendments to the Constitution and two ways to ratify them.

    To propose an amendment

    1. Two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote to propose an amendment, or
    2. Two-thirds of the state legislatures ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments.

    To ratify an amendment

    1. Three-fourths of the state legislatures approve it, or
    2. Ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states approve it.

    I would submit that the state legislature route would probably be more effective, but the congressional method can be tried first. It can effectively be used as a litmus test for voting, i.e., if someone doesn’t want to vote for proposing the amendment in congress, their 2008 opponent can have a field day in saying that the incumbent protects sex offenders at the expense of children’s safety, etc.

    Such an amendment would solve many problems. First of all, the registry would not exist in its current form. Parents don’t have to worry where the sex offenders live, as they all would, by law, have to live in the colony. This also eliminates the need for GPS, as the sex offenders would be restricted to the colony in the first place. No worries about convicted child molesters stalking your children’s school or favorite park, or trolling on the Internet.

    Next, registrants would constitutionally have to be subjected to non-court ordered search of their premises within the zone. In addition, all their mail and phone calls would constitutionally be authorized to be monitored for illicit activities. Internet usage would also be strictly regulated, with all file storage for every computer actually done at the server-level. In addition, emails would be assigned by the administration, no Instant messaging or accessing MySpace or other children sites allowed, and all keystrokes and sites visited will be recorded 100%. All costs for such usage would be borne out by the offender, incidentally.

    All registrants would be required to work, with their paychecks being handled by the administrators. Deductions for medical, rent, all services, and everything else would be done automatically, and any credit the registrant have be used for discretionary income ONLY from the colony store. Also, EVERY registrant will be required to go through treatment appropriate to his crime, and be certified as cured; otherwise, he can be subject to a felony charge and returned to prison.

    Now, please keep in mind one thing: The sex offender colony is NOT…repeat…NOT a replacement for tough, appropriately long, non-paroleable sentencing guidelines in the first place! THAT IS PARAMOUNT. The colony would exist because society cannot handle the large amounts of offenders in their neighborhoods, with the inherent terror parents have with the knowledge that offenders are around their children. Therefore, the colony is SPECIFICALLY for offenders to spend their entire registration periods in a constitutionally-approved manner, eliminating the need for registries as they exist now.

    Keep in mind, many offenders also are able to leave the registry for certain crimes after a specified amount of time has passed. Therefore, once a registrant’s time period has expired, he can petition the administration to be relieved of the duty to register and live in the SORERA zone. A panel of professionals, law enforcement individuals, and the offender’s victim representatives, will go over the request. If they feel the offender is ready to join society, then he can leave the zone and live anywhere he wants, although he will have to permanently register with law enforcement wherever he goes for the rest of his life. Bear in mind, also, that any registrant who has to register for life will NEVER get the opportunity to leave the zone. Only the most benign of the registrants will ever be allowed to leave.

    So there you have it. With a constitutional amendment, we can control where they live, where they work, and how they communicate, with confidence that they won’t have a “relapse” when our own children are in striking distance.

    All interested people are encouraged to write to me at man4theages@hotmail.com to further this just cause.

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