Thousands of paroled child molesters, rapists and other high-risk sex offenders in California are removing or disarming their court-ordered GPS tracking devices. Many are repeat offenders who commit new crimes.
The LA Times found that offenders have discovered how to disable their monitors. Many don’t even serve time for this. California jails are too full to hold them.
Most crimes have a low recidivism rate, but this is not the case with sex offenders. Recidivism among sex offenders is quite high, according to the United States Department of Justice. Although not all sex offenders reoffend, they are four times more likely than a criminal convicted of robbery, murder, assault or any other charge. Psychologists believe that recidivism is high among sex offenders because their desire to rape, molest or assault is a psychologically engrained predeliction.
Now with these offenders free to roam the streets and chance hurting children and women, people should be very concerned.
Since October, 2011, more than 3,400 arrest warrants for GPS tamperers have been issued when the state began referring parole violators to county jails instead of returning them to its over-crowded prisons. However many counties have been under their own court orders to ease crowding in their jails.
In 2012, warrants increased 28% compared to the 12 months before the change in custody began. Nearly all of the warrants were for sex offenders, who are the vast majority of convicts with monitors, and many were for repeat violations.
This is in part due to Governor Jerry Brown and the legislature's "realignment" program, to comply with court orders to reduce overcrowding in state prisons.
Some paroled violators have been freed within days, or even hours, of arrest rather than remain in custody. Some jails have refused to accept them at all.
Before the “realignment” program took effect, sex offenders who breached parole remained behind bars, awaiting hearings that could send them back to prison for up to a year. Now, the maximum penalty is 180 days in jail. Yet many never serve that time.
With no deterrent parolees show little concern of recurring arrests.
Rithy Mam, a convicted child stalker, was arrested three times in two months after skipping parole and was freed almost immediately each time. According to law enforcement records, after his third release, his GPS alarm went off and he vanished only to be found the next day in Stockton. Police said he was in home of a 15-year-old girl who was asleep on her couch. The girl told police she awoke to find the stranger staring at her and that he asked "Wanna date?"
Mam went back to the girl’s home twice more that week and menaced the girl and her 13-year-old sister, getting in by giving candy to a toddler, before authorities captured him in a local park. He is in custody on new charges of child molestation.
In 2006, California voters required that high-risk sex offenders be tracked for life with GPS monitors strapped to their bodies.
Lawmakers have introduced bills to stiffen penalties for tampering with GPS tracking devices, which currently stand at six months in jail, which used to be one year in jail. One proposal calls for up to three years in state prison for GPS tampering.
Ross Ellis is also the Examiner for: