Washington State officials are using global-positioning satellites to keep track of convicted sex offenders, a pilot program the Legislature may decide to expand next year, the Associated Press reports.
By attaching a radio device to an offender’s ankle, authorities can track the person’s movements to within 50 feet, knowing if he has strayed into a prohibited area, such as a schoolyard.
By the end of this month, two state agencies will have attached GPS tracking devices to about 30 former inmates, whose movements in six locations – Seattle, Everett, Vancouver, Wenatchee, Spokane and the state’s Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island – will be monitored through September and October.
The inmates are convicted kidnappers or Level 3 offenders – those considered most likely to commit another sex crime. All are required to remain under supervision after their release from prison and register with the local sheriff’s office.
The monitoring is part of a $100,000 study the Legislature commissioned earlier this year to learn more about the GPS tracking system.
If the offender is not where he should be, the monitoring company alerts the offender’s supervisor by page, fax or e-mail, he said.