By Torilynn Qualls |Staff Writer|
The passing of Senate Bill 57 can now sentence paroled sex offenders who remove their GPS ankle bracelets to 180 days in county jail.
According to city-data.com, there are 576 registered sex offenders in San Bernardino alone; and roughly 43 elementary schools in the San Bernardino Unified School District.
Meaning, if a paroled sex offender in San Bernardino were to remove his or her ankle bracelet, many children could be at risk.
After serving the 180-day sentence, offenders will again be released on parole and monitored by their bracelet.
Before the passing of this bill, “parolees who violated the terms of their release were housed in overcrowded county prisons, where sentences were often shaved by days or weeks to ease the overburdened system,” according to the Torrance Daily Breeze.
“When sex offenders know that there are little or no repercussions for cutting off their GPS monitoring devices, it’s time to strengthen the deterrent,” said Ted Lieu, California State Senator.
Student Cerina Carreon said, “180 days is a lot to most people but to previous criminals it isn’t that much of a penalty, and it seems to be a risk paroled sex offenders are probably willing to take.”
Prior to 2011, “paroled offenders who discarded their ankle bracelets faced up to a full year in state prison,” according to the Los Angeles Daily Breeze.
Overcrowding in county jails was a direct cause for the change in penalty time.
“Sex offenders who remove their GPS ankle monitors should be put back in prison and be put up for parole again in maybe two years and if they cut off the ankle monitor they have the potential to bring harm to more children,” said Carreon.
California Proposition 83, or more commonly referred to as Jessica’s Law, was designed to protect potential victims and reduce a sexual offender’s ability to re-offend.
Jack Wallace, a spokesman for the California Sex Offender Management Board believes that Jessica’s law gives penalty to sex offenders for cutting off their GPS ankle monitors.
However, Jessica’s Law doesn’t give any penalty for not charging the device. Meaning, the offender could go untracked for a short period of time without any repercussions.
John Albert Gardner III, registered sex offender suspect in allegedly killing two underage girls, wore a GPS ankle monitor, reported by U-T San Diego.
U-T San Diego records show his parole agent warned him four times that he was letting the monitors battery get too low. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Gordon Hinkle told U-T San Diego, “GPS can tell you where someone has been and where they are, but it can’t tell you what they’re doing.”
Senate Bill 57 punishes sex offenders for breaking the terms of their parole.
CSUSB students feel that 180 days in jail may deter but not prevent sex offenders from removing their GPS ankle monitors.