Thousands of California’s paroled child molesters, rapists and other high-risk sex offenders are removing their GPS trackers and receiving very little consequences.
A Los Angeles Times investigation found that the state’s prisons are so packed to the brim that sex offenders are more often paroled than jailed, and they can easily disable their tracking devices without serving time for it. Many even go on to commit more crimes including sexual battery, kidnapping and attempted manslaughter.
“It’s a huge problem,” said Fresno parole agent Matt Hill. “If the public knew, they’d be shocked.”
Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature’s “realignment” program began referring parole violators to county jails instead of prisons to reduce overcrowding. Arrest warrants for GPS tamperers increased 28 percent in 2012 compared to the 12 months before the change in custody began, The Times reports.
Some county jails have freed parole violators almost immediately, while some have refused to accept them at all. The investigation found that parole violators in San Joaquin County are often set free in less than 24 hours.
With such little consequences, parolees “certainly are feeling more bold,” Jack Wallace, an executive at the California Sex Offender Management Board, told The Times.
In Fresno County, 42 sex offenders violated parole repeatedly during the yearlong period starting in October 2011. One was Fidel Tafoya, who has a history of assaulting women on college campuses. He was ordered to serve five months for violating parole in May of last year, but the jail had no room for him. He was released immediately, The Times reports.
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Jessica Chasmar is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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