TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Steve Sweeney and Fred H. Madden which would make permanent the provisions of the “Sex Offender Monitoring Act,” was unanimously approved today by the full Senate.
“Before the inception of the pilot program, there was really no way to monitor released sex offenders, which made it easier for some of them to re-offend,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “The continuation of this program is absolutely necessary to help law enforcement keep an eye on high-risk sex offenders and their whereabouts.”
“This bill would enable law enforcement agencies to monitor the whereabouts of New Jersey’s most dangerous sexual predators,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “Protecting our children is one of our top priorities and this legislation would permit families to breathe easier knowing that the police will be better able to track sex offenders.”
The Senators’ bill, S-484, would make permanent the provisions of the 2005 pilot program which authorized the use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to track the locations of high-risk sex offenders. The program uses the GPS tracking to provide continuous, time-correlated tracking, and allows law enforcement to compare subjects’ locations with reported incidents of crime.
In New Jersey, sex offenders are classified as “high risk” if their likelihood of re-offense has been determined to be high by a number of factors including insanity, history of violent assault and assault against children, Senators Sweeney and Madden said.
Any offender who fails to comply with the GPS program would be guilty of a third degree crime, which carries a sentence of 3-5 years in prison and fines of up to $15,000.
The bill would take effect immediately after becoming law.
This Assembly is expected to consider this legislation during today’s voting session.