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Bill Aimed At Mandatory Felony For Parolees Who Cut Off GPS Bracelet

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(CBS)

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(CBS) Charles Feldman
Charles Feldman joined KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO as an investigative reporter...
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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Southland lawmaker said Monday new data supports his efforts in Sacramento to crack down on parolees who remove GPS-ankle bracelets.

KNX 1070’s Charles Feldman reports Sen. Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance) said “disturbing” new data shows record increases in the number of convicted sex offenders, gang members and other parolees who illegally cut off their ankle-mounted monitoring bracelets.

Lieu’s introduction of Senate Bill 57 – which makes it a felony to remove a GPS ankle bracelet – comes as new data shows a nearly 120 percent increase in the number of parolees that tampered or cut their ankle monitors.

After realignment, during the 15-month period from October 2011 through the end of 2012, a total of 482 parolees tampered or cut their GPS bracelets, compared with 221 during the pre-realignment, 15-month period from July 2010 through September 2011.

Those numbers include parolees who are both high-risk sex offenders and high-risk gang members – a trend that Lieu that must be addressed through legislative means.

“And it’s not just a difference in sentence, it’s also where you go, so you would go back to state prison,” Lieu said. “The problem with county and county jails is you’ve got all these counties that do it differently, so some counties weren’t even booking these people because they viewed it as a parole violation.”

While cutting off an ankle bracelet is now only a parole violation that can incur up to 180 days in county jail, Lieu said those sentences are often shortened because of prison overcrowding.

“SB 57 is necessary to ensure realignment works as it was intended,” Lieu said.

Lieu added that SB 57 has gained the support of state law enforcement officials, including Sheriff Keith Royal, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

An initial policy hearing on SB 57 has not yet been set.

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