Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has ordered state corrections officials to stop dumping a high number of paroled sex offenders in any one ZIP code in Illinois, reports the Chicago Tribune. The governor also called for licensing of group homes for the offenders. The move came a day after the Tribune reported that 158 men–or 10.5 percent–of the 1,500 sex offenders on parole in Illinois live in the 60628 ZIP code on Chicago’s South Side in poor black areas. “The Tribune story pointed out how difficult this issue is, how complex it is and how explosive it is,” said Cheryle Jackson, a spokeswoman for Blagojevich. “The media highlighted a problem we had been working on.”
Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan announced arrests of 31 convicted child sex offenders who allegedly violated state law by living within 500 feet of suburban schools, day-care centers, or parks. None of those men was on parole. Sheahan agreed that paroled sex offenders should not be placed pin areas that already have large numbers. Blagojevich now requires the state Department of Corrections to develop statewide licensing standards for transitional group homes that provide housing for sex offenders on parole. The governor ordered corrections officials to begin a pilot project to track 200 of the most dangerous sex offenders by using 24-hour global positioning systems. Currently parolees are required to wear electronic-monitoring bracelets.