GPS system to track Ill. sex offenders

Monday, July 3, 2006

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The state is expanding a program that uses global positioning system technology to monitor convicted sex offenders.

The Illinois Department of Corrections has operated a GPS monitoring pilot program since July 2005 that can accommodate up to 250 high-risk sex offenders.

On Sunday, Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a package of legislation targeting sex offenders, including one measure that expands the GPS monitoring program to all paroled sex offenders who are required to register with local authorities when released from prison.

Under the pilot program, high-risk sex offenders were outfitted with ankle bracelets and transmitters. The devices send continuous signals to a parole officer's computer, allowing the officer to track offenders and ensure they stay away from schools and day-care centers.

IDOC spokesman Sergio Molina said there are currently about 1,100 sex offenders on parole in the state. He did not know how many of them are being tracked by GPS equipment.

At least four other states now use GPS equipment to track convicted sex offenders and several other states are considering legislation that would allow the creation of such a program.

Other measures signed into law Sunday include an extension of the amount of time certain victims of sexual assault have to report an attack from two years to three.

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