Iowa Starts Electronic Sex Offender Monitoring


Iowa corrections officials estimate that 550 ankle bands designed to determine whether sex offenders are obeying curfews will be attached statewide in the next few weeks, says the Des Moines Register. Devices on the worst offenders, such as pedophiles and rapists, will be linked to a satellite system that monitors all their movements and will let officials know when the offenders have traveled to prohibited areas. Unauthorized removal of a monitor or disregard for a curfew will trigger a parole or probation violation for the offender and probably a return to prison. “We are really targeting sex offenders against children. They need to be monitored closer than they have in the past,” said Gary Sherzan, director of community corrections in the 5th Judicial District in Des Moines. “This is a historic event.”

Included in the $600,000 state lawmakers set aside for monitoring efforts is money for a four-member surveillance team in Des Moines, where 130 of the ankle monitors will be worn. The team will make regular visits to sex offenders’ homes, even those deemed unlikely by corrections officials to repeat their crimes. “They’re all going to get home checks, no matter what kind of risk assessment they scored,” Sherzan said. The get-tough mood was triggered by the sexual abuse and slaying of 10-year-old Jetseta Gage of Cedar Rapids in March. A registered sex offender has been charged in her death. Said Rep. Kraig Paulsen, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, “We were under the impression that some things, like collecting DNA evidence and using tracking devices, were already being used. But ut when we learned they weren’t, that’s when things began to happen.”


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