As Florida lawmakers celebrated passage of a bill that will allow closer monitoring of sex offenders, they cautioned against settling into a false sense of security, the Tampa Tribune reports. Florida joins at least nine other states that have taken steps this year to increase restrictions and penalties for sexual offenders.
The bill requires a minimum sentence of 25 years to life for people convicted of molesting children younger than 12. Those released from prison would be required to wear electronic devices and transmitters that provide real- time reporting of a wearer’s location through global positioning system satellites. The stepped-up enforcement comes at a price: $13 million. Some senators who are former prosecutors said sex crimes against children often are not prosecuted to the fullest because the children are too young to testify. Plea agreements often are reached. Said Sen. Alex Villalobos: “We’re creating a false sense of security when we’re telling the public that we’re tough on crime and then allowing people accused of sexual offenses to be released.”