Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tories urge monitoring of sex offenders
Manitoba should expand its electronic monitoring of young car thieves to include high-risk sexual offenders, Progressive Conservative justice critic Kelvin Goertzen said Wednesday.
"It can show if they're going near schools, if they're going near daycares," Goertzen said. "It can give you an alert if they're going near places where they shouldn't be."
Since Manitoba brought in its electronic monitoring program in April 2008, 29 of the 49 high-risk young offenders outfitted with the GPS-equipped anklet monitors removed them before the completion of their terms. Two of the teens removed their devices four times.
A University of Manitoba researcher is now reviewing the program, which will cost taxpayers $850,000 over three years, to see if it's worth the expense.
Manitoba's program is almost identical to Nova Scotia's except that Manitoba only purchased 20 anklet devices to monitor young auto thieves on probation.
Megan Tonet, a communications officer with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice, said 60 to 70 adult and young offenders are being monitored daily in that province. Nova Scotia brought in electronic monitoring in May 2006 and has now seen more than 600 offenders fitted with the device.
"Over the past four years, the program has been deemed a success, as it is believed the program has greatly improved offender accountability, in turn improving both public and staff safety," Tonet said.
Goertzen said the NDP government only said it would introduce electronic monitoring on the eve of the 2007 provincial election.
"I don't think that there was ever a commitment from the government to try to make it work," Goertzen said. "They didn't believe in it because it wasn't their idea."
Recently, the Manitoba integrated high-risk sex offender unit, comprised of RCMP and Winnipeg Police Service officers, issued a public alert that they were looking for a 38-year-old high-risk sexual offender who had breached his probation. The man was arrested about a week later.
Goertzen said in cases like that, electronic monitoring could have alerted police sooner that the man had gone on the lam.
"For most offenders the deterrent is knowing that somebody is watching. That isn't happening in Manitoba."
I actually think this could be a good idea. When it comes to sex offenders, especially child molesters, they often remain a high risk to re-offend throughout their lives. Monitoring would be helpful to see where they are going and if they are violating conditions. However, I think it should only be used for high risk sex offenders and only for a specific time period. They will always remain a high risk to re-offend, but we cant monitor them for their whole lives.