Deeds Proposes GPS to Track Sex Offenders

By: Whitney Holmes
By: Whitney Holmes

June 3, 2005

There are over 13,000 registered sexual offenders in the state of Virginia, but we don't always know where they are. Senator Creigh Deeds, Democratic candidate for Attorney General, has a plan to attach a Global Positioning System, or GPS tracking device to the ankle of every sex offender to know where they are at all times. He says this is needed because the sex offender registries are out of date.

"The whole point is to make the registry more meaningful by allowing us to track day-to-day, moment-to-moment, the people of the registry. If you remove it, you are subject to a 10-year period of incarceration," said Deeds.

His plan would be expensive, however--about $9,000 per offender per year.

Canadian psychologist Karl Hanson said the tracking system isn't always foolproof.

"Actually keeping track of their movements, to trying to try to trick them, or play cat and mouse games, it is very very difficult in those situations to effectively monitor them," said Hanson.

Hanson was a guest speaker at a training session for experts on sexually violent predators this afternoon. He said it is better to work side-by-side with a sexual offender to teach them it is not in their best interest to re-offend.

"The offender and the helper will agree on what the goals of working together are," detailed Hanson. "He may spend time thinking about sexual things that he feels he shouldn't be doing, and so [working collaboratively] is one way of agreeing on the goals and minimizing these problems."

Deeds said he agreed with this philosophy, but says science does not support that it works.

The primary for attorney general is June 14. Deeds is the only Democratic candidate. There are two Republican candidates.

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