Monday, May 15, 2006

CDCR Secretary Calls for Statewide Audit of Sex Offender Placement Using GPS Technology

Sacramento - The Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has called for a statewide audit using Global Positioning Satellite Technology to ensure all High Risk Sex Offender parolees are appropriately and safely placed throughout the state of California and in full compliance with AB 113.

"When it comes to the placement of high risk sex offenders we cannot and will not compromise," said James E. Tilton, Secretary (A) for the CDCR. "Public safety is our single most important duty and concern and for that reason I have directed the staff of the Division of Adult Parole Operations to use Global Positioning Satellite technology to measure the distance of High Risk Sex Offender placement to ensure the placement complies with state law."

Reiterating the Governor's commitment to public safety and his zero tolerance for anything that unnecessarily endangers public safety, Tilton said he has already directed the Department to purchase the latest technology to accurately measure where High Risk Sex Offenders are placed in state communities.

"I want to make sure that there are no paroled sex offenders living in places where they should not be living," said Tilton. "In the past we used the old way of verifying placement, driving the streets and measuring the distance from a parolee's home to a schools or park, today that isn't good enough. We will use whatever technology we can to make sure we are in compliance with all state laws and guidelines."

The Department has begun purchasing 100 new GPS hand held units and will begin training staff immediately to ensure proper placement for sex offenders. "We must begin this audit immediately to reassure our communities that sex offenders are being placed and supervised according to law," Tilton said.

This week Secretary Tilton also began reaching out to local law enforcement and local elected officials. Building on existing relationships and ensuring good communications while establishing positive working relationships with local law enforcement and community leaders is the only way we can guarantee public safety remains our top priority, he said.

To ensure better communication and coordination, Tilton has established a Departmental liaison with local officials to develop a comprehensive plan to increase communication with local law enforcement, district attorneys and local elected officials.

"We need to establish the critical relationships necessary to embark on a collaborative reentry process for all parolees, including those convicted of sexual offenses," said Tilton. "This liaison office will make sure a critical line of communication is working properly and effectively."

"My expectation is that each and every current and future parolee placement is in total compliance with the law," Tilton said. "Anything less will not be tolerated."

The Department of Corrections is required under state law to return parolees to their county of last legal residence. The Department must also ensure that any high risk sex offender who has been convicted of certain child molesting charges under sections 228 and 228.5 of the penal code do not live within a half mile of any K-12 school.