Lawmakers kill pitch to track rapists via GPS use
The idea of tagging sex crime offenders with devices that would keep track of them by satellite has been shot down by state lawmakers.
The bill would have required criminals convicted of first-degree assault to wear Global Positioning System transmitters for up to 10 years after their release from prison.
Opponents of the bill said it would not do any good to keep track of sex criminals if there is no way of stopping future attacks.
"It can't tell you if the person has dragged someone into the bushes and is committing a sexual assault," said Tim Ho, of the Honolulu public defender's office. "It's Big Brother taken to the extreme."
Rep. Tommy Waters (D, Lanikai-Waimanalo) said tracking systems would not prevent criminals from re-offending.
"Just having a GPS monitor around their leg or their arm, I don't think it's going to achieve that," said Waters, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Instead of advancing the bill, the House Judiciary Committee moved another bill Tuesday that requires lifetime parole for repeat sex crime offenders.
Even supporters of the monitoring proposal acknowledged it had problems because parole officers do not have jurisdiction over offenders once they complete their sentence.
"If there was a violation, how could we respond?" said Tommy Johnson, administrator for the Hawaii Paroling Authority. "It's a good idea, but we need to speak with more agencies about it."
Several states have laws or are considering laws to require GPS devices for sex offenders, including California, where voters approved Proposition 83 in November which includes a lifetime tracking requirement for convicted rapists, child molesters and other felony sex criminals after release from prison.