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BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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GPS Monitoring of Offenders


You may have heard about the Global Positioning System also known as GPS which uses satellite technology to locate you when you use a GPS in your car to navigate around town. Did you also know every cell phone sold in today’s market contains a built in GPS that can be used by the Emergency Medical System to locate a caller who cannot or will not identify their location when he or she dials 911 from a cell phone. Yet, what you may not realize is 22 states had passed some form of legislation that has allowed for GPS to be used to monitor sex offenders since the year 2006.

Currently only six states have passed legislation that allows for lifetime GPS monitoring for certain high risk sex offenders. The words Global Positioning System brings forth visions of spies like James Bond. Yet, the technology although may seem mysterious and advanced is not fail safe and actually has many down falls not previously considered when law enforcement first began using the technology to monitor convicted sex offenders.

In short GPS monitoring is great when it works properly to get you from one place to the next but when it fails to monitor a sex offender properly nothing can justify the end result. Sex offenders are unpredictable and that is why GPS may not be the best choice when it comes to monitoring them outside of jail or prison. Quite frankly this writer believes the risks involved in using GPS to monitor high risk sex offenders can never outweigh the disastrous results when GPS monitoring fails our children.

Consider the case of Phillip Garrido a convicted sex offender that has been required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet since 1999 when the state of California began monitoring him. Requirements of his parole included: registering as a sex offender, physical appointments with his parole officer 2-3 times each month, randomized drug and alcohol tests and GPS monitoring through an ankle bracelet. In addition authorities were required to make surprise or unannounced visits to Phillip Garrido’s home.

Phillip Garrido had been convicted in both state and federal courts with kidnapping and raping a 25 year old woman in 1977. Although Phillip Garrido was sentenced to serve 50 years in a federal prison and 5 years in a state prison, he served less than 13 years before being paroled despite a previous rape charge in 1971 which was dismissed when the 14 year old girl he was accused of raping would not testify.

On June 10, 1991 blonde haired blue eyed Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped from her bus stop. She was eleven years old when she disappeared, and Jaycee Dugard would remain missing for 18 years until she was found with her two children ages 11 and 15, both girls. The three were living in the backyard of Phillip and Nancy Garrido's home. Both of the Garrido's have both been arrested and charged in the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard.

For 18 years no one noticed anything out of the ordinary. Yet, since 1999 Phillip Garrido was monitored by GPS and was susceptible to surprise home visits, which may not have been conducted. There is an investigation regarding how the state of California handled the monitoring of convicted sex offender Phillip Garrido. What people need to know is that GPS monitoring is not a failsafe system, especially when it comes to monitoring sex offenders.

Incarceration (or death) is the only sure way to guarantee a sex offender does not offend again, yet when asked people admit they feel safer knowing sex offenders are monitored by using GPS, and although Global Positioning Systems makes people feel safe it should not. In reality GPS monitoring provides the public with a false sense of security and it should instead scare the living daylights out of ordinary people. This is one of a series of articles planned involving the downfalls of using GPS to monitoring of sex offenders.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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