The attached 2 news articles are of an individual described by Police as a “potentially violent high-risk sex offender.” This individual was on court-released conditions, when he cut off his electronic monitoring bracelet, threw it away and fled. So what good is the electronic monitoring system? Opponents of electronic monitoring of sex offenders can use this situation to show that this technology builds a false sense of security. But is this correct?
My position is that electronic monitoring bracelets, while vulnerable to this sort of action, actually perform, as they are suppose to. The moment that it is cut, or tampered with, an alarm is raised, so the police automatically know. Further the system will shows where the wearer is at the time they tampered with it, thus giving Police a jumping off point to begin their search or warning of residents in the area.
Now consider this same individual on the same release without any electronic monitoring system. At best he would have condition to report to Police once a day, stay away from certain areas, contact restrictions, and some other conditions. The only difference is, that once he checks in with the Police, he basically has a 24 hour window of opportunity before anyone would now that something was wrong, because unless arrested he does not check in again for 24 hours.
While not perfect, the system performed, as it should. With the ability to program areas that the wearer must stay away from, real time tracking, and possibly house arrest features, all meant to track and ensure public safety, society is in a position to know sooner rather then hours later, and possibly saving or preventing someone else from becoming a victim(s). This technology needs to be expanded to all sex offenders in the community or with community contact. We owe it to the vulnerable members of society to fight for their protection.