Thousands of paroled California child molesters, rapists, and other high-risk sex offenders are removing or disarming their court-ordered GPS tracking devices, and some have been charged with new crimes including sexual battery, kidnapping, and attempted manslaughter, reports the Los Angeles Times. The offenders have discovered they can disable the monitors, often with little risk of serving time for it. The jails are too full to hold them. “It’s a huge problem,” said Fresno parole agent Matt Hill. “If the public knew, they’d be shocked.”
More than 3,400 arrest warrants for GPS tamperers have been issued since October 2011, when the state began referring parole violators to county jails instead of returning them to packed prisons. Warrants increased 28 percent in 2012 compared to the year before the change began. Nearly all the warrants were for sex offenders, who are the vast majority of convicts with monitors, and many were for repeat violations. The custody shift is part of Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature’s “realignment” to comply with court orders to reduce prison overcrowding. Many counties are under their own court orders to ease crowding in jails.