Some sex offenders who were supposed to be monitored for life are being dropped from probation in Maricopa County, Az., the Arizona Republic reports. In the past three years, 20 sex offenders went to court and successfully petitioned to be released from lifetime probation. Some say it’s the beginning of a push by sex offenders to ease the strict behavioral restrictions on them for more than a decade.
Those who agree say there should be some sort of “light at the end of the tunnel” to motivate sex offenders to comply with treatment requirements. Others say the risk of a sex offender committing a new crime is simply too great to loosen the reins, particularly when society believes that they will be watched forever. Currently, 1,542 sex offenders are on lifetime probation in Maricopa County. A surge in termination requests prompted Maricopa County Judge Eddward Ballinger Jr. to start a monthly sex-offender court last year to “prevent us from making mistakes.” Ballinger insisted there will not be, a “wholesale termination of probation. If someone says to me, ‘Lifetime probation means lifetime probation,’ you’re right. There better be a good reason to change it.”