Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Allegheny County Finishes Study on GPS Technology and Sex Offenders

Last year, the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office got funding to study the effectiveness of using GPS technology to track sex offenders. After the six-eight month study, Stephen Zappala, Allegheny County District Attorney called the study a success and spoke of plans to move forward with plans to permanently place GPS bracelets on offenders.

In the study 45 men had the GPS placed on them. There were two incidences, one man who immediately cut the bracelet and ran, another man who was found hanging around children at The Century III Mall. The others did not cause any problems said Zappala.

The study was carried out by Red Five Security, based in Alexandria, Virginia. A third group was brought in to watch the moves of those under surveillance and ensure that they did not go into areas where they were prohibited to go such as schools or senior centers, based on what their offenses had been.

Sex offenders will be targeted first, then violent offenders then deadbeat dads. "Judges routinely release deadbeat dads from prison because they have made a promise to the court to the families who released them that they are going to support their families, support their children. Routinely we are seeing that they do not do that," said Zappala, "If your not at your place of work for that period that your supposed to be there then we'll put you back in jail and take somebody else thats worth taking a chance on that's going to take care of their obligations to their family."

Red Five Security said they will release the final report to the District Attorney's office in the next 30 days. Kris Coleman, President of the group called it "successful," and told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that it is up to the county to ensure vigilance of the offenders after they are outfitted with the bracelets.

There are more than 1100 registered sex offenders in Allegheny County. Zappala said the bracelets would not be a violation of their civil liberties because of the nature of the crimes committed.

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