Georgia’s most dangerous sex offenders must be tethered to electronic leashes that track their every move for the rest of their lives, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It remains unclear exactly how state and local officials who must carry out the new requirement will satisfy the demands of the new law or pay for its implementation. They face a critical choice: Will they use technology to track sex offenders in real time, or will they opt for a system that would record offenders’ whereabouts but allow them to wander onto a playground without authorities instantly knowing?
Making sex offenders wear Global Positioning System tracking devices is part of a bill passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed by Gov. Sonny Perdue this week. While GPS tracking is supposed to begin in January, the 42-page law doesn’t make clear what kind of system is required. As many as 1,200 sex offenders – the ones considered the most dangerous – could be required to wear GPS devices. It can cost up to $9 a day for real-time tracking, said Gretl Plessinger of the Florida Department of Corrections. Georgia lawmakers didn’t estimate the cost of implementing the new system, which is expected to be funded out of sex offenders’ pockets. “This is one of those ‘whatever it takes’ bills,” Perdue said. “We didn’t count the cost necessarily in order to make this policy based on whether we could afford it or not. How can we afford not to?”