PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A test program that uses technology to track convicted sex offenders has been declared a success by some, but others are giving the program mixed reviews.
“I hate what I did; I always will. I live with it every day,” said one of the convicted sex offenders who took part in the program. “I’ll take it to my grave with me.”
The man, who will remain unidentified, was convicted of raping a minor and is on parole after serving six years of a five to 20 year sentence.
He was one of 45 convicted sex offenders who wore the ankle bracelet. It was part of a pilot program in Allegheny County that tracked his every move 24 hours a day.
“If you’re not doing nothing, it’s just like everyday life, you have nothing to worry about. Now, if you’re slipping into bars, going into playgrounds, watching for kids or following a kid home or something, it’s going to catch up to you.”
When a convicted sex offender wears the ankle bracelet and carries a transmitter, he shows up as a blue dot on the computer screen that tracks them by satellite.
If the offender goes near a school or daycare center in a designated green zone the transmitter goes off and police are notified.
With more sex offenders and others being released on parole, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala says it could soon become a permanent program.
“All sex offenders would be considered, but the sex offender court is going to take persons who committed crimes who would be otherwise committed to register under Megan’s Law,” said Zappala.
But not all convicted sex offenders are buying it. Another anonymous offender who wore the GPS bracelet is concerned about technical problems and says it humiliating.
“If you go to the beach, if you go to a swimming pool, if you cut the grass in your shorts anybody and everyone will know that you are a parolee and the likelihood of a violent offender,” he said.
Funding is already available to help the program get started. In addition to convicted sex offenders, dead beat dads, violent juveniles and adults may be required to wear the bracelets in the future.