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Electronic Tags For Sex Offenders

Serial sex offenders will be placed in "electronic bubbles" allowing their movements to be tracked 24 hours a day.
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr yesterday announced serial sex offenders on parole would be fitted with tracking devices that will alert authorities if they go near schools or childcare centres.
Known as STAR units, the electronic bracelets will feature GPS technology allowing corrective service authorities to monitor the wearer's every move.
Serial sex offenders who have been convicted and have served a non-parole period in jail will qualify for the electronic monitoring, which costs $5000 per device.
"Offenders are trapped in an electronic bubble that can be tracked anywhere," Mr Carr said.
"The offender must wear an electronic anklet or bracelet and carry the STAR unit, which is the size of a large mobile phone."
Mr Carr said the device would pinpoint the offender's location to within 5m.
He said an alarm would be triggered if the offender tried to remove the bracelet or didn't carry the unit.
If the offender approaches an "exclusion zone" such as a school, childcare centre, or a victim's home, they are sent an electronic warning alerting them they shouldn't be there.
An SMS is also sent to the offender's parole officer.
The tracking device will allow authorities to register the offender's exact location, how long they have been there or if they are simply passing by on a bus or in a car.
"It's an extra protection for potential victims and it's one way of making parole conditions more effective," Mr Carr said.
Justice Minister John Hatzistergos said the Parole Board would determine which serial sex offenders qualified for the device.
"Offenders will know they are being closely monitored and are therefore less likely to commit further offences," he said.
The State Opposition yesterday attacked the scheme.
"These bands will not stop one single attack," justice spokesman Andrew Humpherson said.
"All they will do is tell the authorities where a sex attacker was when one occurred.
"These are people who cannot be helped. Putting them out on the streets before they should be only places the public in danger."
Legal affairs spokesman Andrew Tink said the new technology sent the wrong message to the courts and parole board.
"This will encourage parole being granted to serial sex offenders," Mr Tink said.
"It will be a message to the courts and to parole authorities that the Government's priority is to get the serial sex offenders back on the streets as early as possible.
"It will actually encourage the courts to grant parole to sex offenders when the Government's message to the courts should be no parole to sex offenders."

Daily Telegraph (27-5-2005)

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